MINM Review: NIGHTBLIND by Ragnar Jonasson

Richly evocative of the hauntingly beautiful, yet bleak, Northern Icelandic autumn and early winter, Nightblind is a slow-burning, character-focused Nordic Noir, with a resolution that may very well surprise readers. Nightblind is the second book in Ragnar Jonasson's Dark Iceland series, but it may be read as a standalone.

Violence: Mild-to-Moderate

Profanity: Mild-to-Moderate

Sexual Content: None

Explicit Language: None

Animal Cruelty: None

Thrilling Action: Mild

Red Herrings: Mild-to-Moderate

Twists and Turns: Mild-to-Moderate

Suspense: Mild

Plot Development: Moderate

Character Development: Moderate-to-High

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

Best for Crime Fiction Readers:

  • Who are fans of "Nordic Noir".

  • Who enjoy crime fiction in translation. The cultural differences of the remote Northern Icelandic region in which the novel is set are abundantly clear from the earliest chapters.

  • Who may prefer books that can be read quickly, and are not lengthy.

  • Who appreciate, or don't mind, being given substantial backstory on characters.

  • Who appreciate "quieter", less overtly violent crime fiction. This quality may be part of why many have likened Mr. Jonasson's writing style in this series to that of the classic, whodunit murder mysteries of the Golden Age. His books are not cozy mysteries, yet they tend to be less gritty than some other examples of Nordic and Scandinavian crime fiction. Nightblind does ultimately address topics worthy of serious contemplation.

  • Who enjoy atmospheric crime fiction. Nightblind is rich with descriptions of the darkness, the cold, the incessant rain of late autumn and early winter in Northern Iceland, contrasted with the coziness of hot cups of coffee by the hearth in the warmth of the indoors. The plot also revolves around the mysterious happenings at a psychiatric facility, as well as at a foreboding, dilapidated house on the outskirts of the village!

Nightblind by Ragnar Jonasson book cover image.jpg

Publisher's Blurb:

Chilling, and complex, Nightblind is an extraordinary thriller from undeniable new talent Ragnar Jonasson.

Ari Thór Arason: a local policeman, whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers in an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland—where no one locks their doors—continue to haunt him.

The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman—shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavik where someone is being held against their will. Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dares not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all.

MINM Overall Rating: 4/5