Wednesday 11 January 2017

Reviewed: Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson

TITLE: Rupture
AUTHOR: Ragnar Jonasson
PUBLISHER: Orenda Books

PUBLICATION DATE: January 15, 2017

Amazon - Goodreads

1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjörður. Their stay ends abruptly when one of the women meets her death in mysterious circumstances. The case is never solved. Fifty years later an old photograph comes to light, and it becomes clear that the couples may not have been alone on the fjord after all…

In nearby Siglufjörður, young policeman Ari Thór tries to piece together what really happened that fateful night, in a town where no one wants to know, where secrets are a way of life. He's assisted by Ísrún, a news reporter in Reykjavik who is investigating an increasingly chilling case of her own. Things take a sinsister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjörður in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them.

Rupture is book four in Ragnar Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series involving Ari Thor. It’s actually the first book in the series I’ve read but it took me no time at all to immerse myself in the story. The first thing that struck me was how atmospheric Ragnar’s writing is, and this is something that really appeals to me as I love being able to get a sense and picture of the places and people in the books I read. The story in Rupture really came to life with the way Ragnar built the atmosphere, with the chilling cold, gloomy darkness and the feeling of dread and claustrophobia all pieces which made the book come alive in my mind.

Siglufjordur is a place in quarantine due to fear of a life-threatening virus. With the residents remaining locked in their homes and local shops remaining unopened, the town appears quiet and calm from the outside. For Ari Thor, however, he is kept busy investigating the mysterious death of a woman that happened over fifty years ago. The appearance of a stranger in an old photograph adds another lead to the case, and whilst Siglufjordur is in lockdown, the opportunity arises for Ari to investigate further.

Rupture was gripping from the first page to the last. The author steadily controls the pace as he builds up the tension with each page as the claustrophobic Icelandic feel takes over in a way which sent shivers down my spine. It’s definitely a perfect winter’s read, with its cold atmosphere and chilling turn of events ensuring you’ll want to spend the day wrapped up warm amongst the pages of a book which grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go. With each new thing Ari Thor discovers, I was more and more engrossed in the mystery and couldn’t wait to reach the moment when things became clear and the truth was unveiled.

Ari Thor’s inimitable character was one I really grew to love during Rupture as he looks like, four books in, someone with still so much more to give. I picked up on things mentioned during the book which had referred to the development of Ari’s character during the past three books, and they are books I definitely want to go back and read sooner rather than later as getting to know the police in a crime series holds almost the same amount of appeal for me as discovering the crimes within the stories.

Ragnar Jonasson’s style of writing is utterly enthralling. With the pacing quite slow and the prose relatively understated, this book could have been something else entirely. But it wasn’t too slow or uninspiring, it was the complete opposite. I loved that as the reader we’re allowed to draw our own conclusions from what is discovered during the case. There’s no need for the author to exaggerate a huge twist that will stop the reader in their tracks as it is the subtle way he delivers surprising pieces of the investigation that makes Rupture so damn satisfying to read. It was the tiny hints of something amiss that kept me up late at night refusing the put the book down. And I did refuse to put the book down for so long that I finished Rupture over the course of one late night. I have a feeling this won’t be the last time Ragnar’s Dark Iceland series keeps me up all night.

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