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Snowblind

Dark Iceland
Narrated by: Thor Kristjansson
Series: Dark Iceland, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
3.6 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland where no one locks their doors - accessible only via a small mountain tunnel.

Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik - with a past that he’s unable to leave behind.

When a young woman is found lying half naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theatre, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life.

An avalanche and unremitting snowstorms close the mountain pass, and the 24-hour darkness threatens to push Ari over the edge, as curtains begin to twitch, and his investigation becomes increasingly complex, chilling and personal. Past plays tag with the present, and the claustrophobic tension mounts while Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness – blinded by snow and with a killer on the loose.

Taut and terrifying, Snowblind is a startling debut from an extraordinary new talent, taking Nordic noir to soaring new heights. Author of the best-selling Dark Iceland crime series, Ragnar Jonasson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1976 and works as a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.

Before becoming a writer, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic and has had short stories published in international literary magazines. Ragnar is a member of the UK Crime Writers' Association (CWA) and recently set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA, in Reykjavik. He is also the cofounder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir, which was selected by the Guardian as one of the 'best crime-writing festivals around the world'. Ragnar has appeared on panels at festivals worldwide, and he lives in Reykjavik with his wife and daughter.

©2015 Ragnar Jonasson (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Is King Arnaldur looking to his laurels? There is a young pretender beavering away, his eye on the crown: Ragnar Jónasson." (Barry Forshaw)

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What listeners say about Snowblind

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this

What disappointed you about Snowblind?

I find it hard to pinpoint what it really was in the end, but I'm leaning towards the narrator. After a promising start, I found it increasingly difficult to listen to. After about two third I gave up because I just couldn't get back into the story. The last few chapters I must have heard about four or five times, each time drifting off. I just couldn't stay focused for more than a few minutes. I didn't get beyond chapter 31.

What was most disappointing about Ragnar Jonasson’s story?

It started off really well, but then lost momentum/

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I found the narrator's voice very difficult to follow. A little less 'soul' and a little more 'force' would have been good sometimes.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Tense & claustrophobic

When Ari Thor Arason takes his first posting as policeman in the remote fishing village in Northern Iceland, he does so with the reassurance: “Nothing ever happens in Siglufjörður.” Nobody even locks their doors here, because it is a small community where everyone knows and trusts each other. So the whole town is rocked to the core when a young woman is found half dead in the snow, brutally attacked and left for dead. As the weather closes in and the last access route to Siglufjörður is blocked by an avalanche, Ari Thor’s sense of claustrophobia and doom mounts. There may be a murderer living amongst them, and there is no way out ....

I’ve been wanting to put Iceland on my armchair travel map for ages, so when another book blogger recommended Snowblind to me, I immediately put it on my TBR list and marked it as the perfect audio book for my daily commute. Cloistered in my car, driving lonely dark country roads, this tense and claustrophobic mystery made the perfect companion! The Dark Iceland series is definitely one I could easily get hooked on, and I especially liked young Ari Thor, the earnest and intelligent police officer who is setting out in his career in this lonely, isolated place far from his family and friends.

Snowblind is a slow burning, character driven mystery that relies heavily on Jonasson’s excellent character development and his ability to create a tense, claustrophobic setting in a wild and isolated place. His portrayal of small town politics and dynamics is well done and lends authenticity to the story. There is nothing better than the tension created by entrapment – this time through forces of nature alone, as the Icelandic winter closes in on this small fishing village. Jonasson’s writing is almost poetic, even though the story fits perfectly into the Nordic Noir genre, with the whodunit atmosphere and careful plotting of an Agatha Christie style murder mystery. Soon all the threads and different POVs fall into place to reveal the bigger picture, even though Ari Thor still has his work cut out to prove his theory.

Snowblind will appeal to readers who love Nordic noir, or just want a cracking good read! Tense, claustrophobic and atmospheric, this is armchair travel of the best kind, even though I’m not sure I would have the nerve to visit Siglufjörður in winter. This is one of those books that exponentially expanded my alpine TBR list, as I had to add all other works by the author!


1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good story, good intro to chatacters

Enjoyed the pace and storyline. Look forward to reading more of the series of books

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Loved every gripping second

loved it, couldn't stop listening! listened anytime it was humanly possible. An exceptionally beautifully written Scandi noir thriller!

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  • Read and Reviewed
  • 01-12-2015

Hugely atmospheric setting & palpable tension!

What did you like most about Snowblind?

The narration brought the story and setting to life for me perfectly! The reader conveys a brilliant sense of place and his slightly chilling narration adds to the tension the listener feels. I would hope this narrator continues with future books. I felt all the claustrophobia and anxiety of Ari Thór living alone in the remote fishing village and Smowblind became compulsive listening. I really could have finished this in one sitting (believe me, I would have liked to)!

A clever plot and some distinctive characters kept me thoroughly engaged and this certainly rates as one of my favourite Audible listens since joining.

What did you like best about this story?

It captured perfectly the plight of Ari Thór - rookie cop, remote posting, far away from his girlfriend and how very isolated he felt. I liked the character and the fact that I felt drawn to him certainly made for an emotionally involving listen.

Which character – as performed by Thor Kristjansson – was your favourite?

Certainly Ari Thór - he is at the heart of this story and Thór Kristjansson manages to convey every emotion he feels superbly, ensuring that I really cared how this book ended. Secondly, I did love the portrayal of Tomas as the gruff sergeant in charge of Ari Thór.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Every bit as dazzling as the title implies!

Any additional comments?

A clever plot, low on blood and gore for the more gentle listener. Without a doubt one of the crime fiction debuts of 2015 and the narration makes for a hugely satisfying listen.. Definitely one of my favourites since joining. Do not miss out - a gem!

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Asbjørn
  • 27-12-2015

Nice Story

It is a nice crime story - worth the time.
Unfortunately the narrator is terribly monotonous. A scream of frustration and an intimate declaration of love is narrated in the exact same tone and pitch. The second star is for the narrators excellent pronunciation of Icelandic.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David G.
  • 21-10-2019

Confusing order

If you want to continue this series after listening to this excellent shortish story you may want to know that the order of book publication does not match the chronological flow of the story - After becoming completely confused and wanting to read the series in a way that makes chronological sense I found this helpful explanation online (note it suggests NOT reading in the order audible suggest): ”This is the chronological order of the stories as explained in the preface of Nightblind: The events of Nightblind take place approximately five years after Snowblind . . . The next book in the series, Blackout, picks up the story directly after the events of Snowblind with the following two books, Rupture and Whiteout to complete the series of events linking Snowblind and Nightblind." Therefore, the CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF THE STORIES is: * * Fölsk nóta - Not set in Siglufjordur, but the first novel featuring Ari Thór Arason, as a young theology student looking for his missing father. (first published 2009) 1. Snowblind (Dark Iceland #1) (first published 2009) 2. Blackout (Dark Iceland #2) (first published January, 2011) 3. Rupture (Dark Iceland #3) (first published January 2012) 4. Whiteout (Dark Iceland #4) (first published October, 2013) 5. Nightblind (Dark Iceland #5) (first published October 1st 2014) The original publication dates indicate the correct chronological story line. I don't know why publishers have to mess with the order of a story line.”

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Carole
  • 21-03-2016

interesting story, maddening narrrator

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would change this narrator and will avoid anything narrated by him in future

How could the performance have been better?

By substituting someone else!

Any additional comments?

The story is atmospheric, and an interesting depiction of rural Iceland . The icelandic narrator, however, whispers (yes, really), and pauses so often in the wrong places that I almost gave up listening out of annoyance.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Apple Tree Cottage
  • 16-06-2018

Icelandic narrator

I had hoped that having an Icelandic narrator would mean that names would be pronounced correctly, as indeed they were. Unfortunately, however, the narrator doesn't get the rhythm of English quite right and pauses in the wrong places.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane
  • 04-10-2018

Five glittering stars for 'Snowblind'

Ari Thor has graduated from Police College and is looking for his first job. His girlfriend, a medical student, has recently made the move into his flat in Reykjavík and life for Ari is beginning to take a turn for the better. Then Ari is offered a job in the small town of Siglufjordur, in the North of Iceland, a long way from Reykjavik and Kristin. He accepts, without consulting her, and like the winter weather in his new home, the temperature of their relationship plummets. Upon his arrival Ari is plunged into a world of icy suspicion and claustrophobia inducing snow. An isolated, confined world of small-town gossip and watchful residents, cautious of the outsider in their midst. An enclosed world of amateur dramatics and murder. Beautiful writing, stunning scenery and description, great characters I want to know more about, and an intriguing whodunnit, Icelandic style. I am now well and truly hooked on “Nordic Noir”.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah Jones
  • 25-05-2018

fantastic Narration

the narrator was fabulous. finally a Nordic speaker, reading in English. His voice added to the atmosphere. just stunning.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • CurlyWurlyJess
  • 20-02-2017

Bit slow

It's a good story with multiple threads to it, I just felt it took a while to get going - this may have been down to the way it was read however, the 'reader' had no emotion in his voice at all and didn't change his voice for the different characters. For this reason I found it hard to get into and difficult to empathise with any of the characters as it felt like they were all lacking in emotion and feeling.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Trumpetdropper
  • 26-08-2019

good story nicely read

The general story was quite good lots of suspects and twists. The Icelandic prose transports you to the country and immerses you into the feel of the place described. the haunting narrative is excellently performed by the reader.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Fee
  • 15-08-2019

Promising start to a new (to me) series

Atmospheric. I think the claustrophobia the weather must create could have been made more of. Narrator was enjoyable to listen to, almost somniferous at times but in a good way. I often need time to get into this genre as the names and places are unfamiliar. With an actual book, you may not “pronounce” it correctly in your head but you quickly recognise the shape of the words so can follow more quickly. However, for me, this does not detract from the book.

1 person found this helpful