Wednesday 2 December 2020

BLOG TOUR: The Mist - Ragnar Jónasson


1987. An isolated farm house in the east of Iceland.

The snowstorm should have shut everybody out. But it didn't.

The couple should never have let him in. But they did.

An unexpected guest, a liar, a killer. Not all will survive the night. And Detective Hulda will be haunted forever . . .

What did I think?

STOP! Don't read my review - just buy the book!  It's THAT good.  Or more seriously, read my review really fast until you reach the buy links near the bottom, click to buy and wait until one of the BEST books you'll read this year lands on your doormat.

I absolutely love Ragnar Jónasson's Dark Iceland series starring police officer Ari Thór Arason, but I completely missed that he had published this Hidden Iceland series starring Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir.  The Mist is the third book in the series but you can totally read it as a standalone, while you wait for your order of the previous two books to arrive, as you'll want to read them as soon as you've read The Mist.

The prologue is set in February 1988 with Hulda Hermannsdottir returning to work after some time off.  My little antenna of curiosity stood to attention as I desperately wanted to know what had happened to Hulda and I thought I'd made a terrible mistake in jumping in at the third book in the series, but fear not because Ragnar Jónasson rolls back the clock a few months and Hulda's JAW DROPPING story will be revealed within this very book.  So get your reading skates on as there's some speed reading to do!

Oh my word, Ragnar Jónasson's magnificent writing is an absolute pleasure to read.  Impeccably translated from Icelandic to English by Victoria Cribb, you can't tell at all that it's a translated book.  The prose is exquisite, building tension layer upon layer just like the snow falling during the storm.  Snow that you can 'feel' without having to look outside.  How true is that?  It's like we have a sixth sense that makes us draw back the curtains to find that our street has been coated in blanket of snow.

I'm going to say very little about the plot so that I don't spoil it, but I previously mentioned Hulda's very intriguing story and this gives us a dual storyline in between the murders that she is investigating.  Both storylines have little cliffhangers at the end of their chapters so that you are compelled to keep reading, so brew a big pot of coffee as you'll be up all night reading The MistThe Mist is so good, it's a read it in one-sitting book; I definitely wasn't going to go to sleep until I'd finished it!

It was through reading Ragnar Jónasson's books that I found out about Jólabókaflóðið, the Icelandic Christmas book flood, and there's another fabulous Icelandic tradition mentioned in The Mist: buying new clothes to ward off 'The Christmas Cat'.  According to Icelandic legend, this is an evil cat that eats children who don't get any new clothes for Christmas.  Although we don't have a similar British equivalent, it perhaps explains why we get horrific knitted jumpers from our grandparents when we're young!

Brilliant from beginning to end, The Mist is one of the best books I've read this year.  Perfectly plotted, fast paced and completely addictive, The Mist is an exceptional thriller that is impossible to put down.  This is such an outstanding book that a five star rating feels woefully inadequate; I really can't recommend it highly enough.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a gifted book to read and review; all opinions are my own. 

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