CBR 10 BINGO Square: And So It Begins (First in the “Dark Iceland” series)
Best for: People who enjoy an interesting mystery set in a different country (unless you’re from Iceland, in which case, people who enjoy an interesting mystery).
In a nutshell: Ari Thór is about to finish police school and has been offered a posting in a very small, very northern town in Iceland, starting right before winter arrives. Someone has died, and he suspects murder. But the rest of the town isn’t so sure.
“She was a prisoner of her own prosperity, here in this spacious detached house in a quiet neighbourhood, where people paid to cut themselves off from the world’s problems.”
Why I chose it: I visited Iceland this summer (it was amazing and I can’t wait to go back), and of course had to buy a book while I was there.
I read this book in a day and then immediately went online and ordered the other four books in the series. So, there’s that.
I enjoy a good mystery — I’ve just never really known where to go to find one. A couple of years ago I got into Stephen King, but I’m not big on supernatural components, and wasn’t sure when it was going to pop up in his writing, so I’ve mostly stopped. I used to read John Grisham books (more thriller than mystery, I guess) when I was younger, but haven’t picked one of his up in years (is he still writing?).
For me, this is a good mystery. There are a lot of characters, but not so many that I can’t keep up with them. There are some red herrings, but they aren’t ridiculous. However, I’m not sure if there is enough there that one could actually figure out exactly what really happened, so while the reveal is satisfying for sure, there is a very little bit that one might suggest comes out of left field. Regardless, it was an enjoyable read for me.
As I’ve made clear, I don’t read nearly as much fiction as non-fiction (I just checked, and I’ve read 100 fiction books since starting with Cannonball Read 5, and 297 non-fiction books), and generally I don’t pick books with male protagonists. I also am leery of male writers, as the women they write (if they include them at all) are often superfluous to the story, or outright offensively stereotypical.
Mr. Jónasson’s writing didn’t fall into that category for me, thankfully. While his main character is a young man, there are women who feature prominently in the book. They don’t all exist just to satisfy or move forward the men in the book. Because of Jónasson’s writing choices, many of the women get at least one point-of-view chapter, and I think he does a good job of creating an interesting community of characters that I wanted to learn about.