REVIEW: Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson (Dark Iceland #4)

Series: Dark Iceland (Ari Thor)

Book Number: 4

Read this book for: realistic police procedure, contemporary mystery, minimalist writing, traditional whodunnit, Scandanavian/Nordic Noir, journalist investigator, multiple storylines

Quick Review: Yet another brilliant addition to a fantastic series, offering both the isolation and claustrophobia of SNOWBLIND with the elements of a semi-political thriller. Put this series on your reading list!


1955. Two young couples move to the uninhabited, isolated fjord of Hedinsfjördur. 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 Siglufjördur, 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 sinister turn when a child goes missing in broad daylight. With a stalker on the loose, and the town of Siglufjördur in quarantine, the past might just come back to haunt them.

RUPTURE is the fourth book to be published in English in the Dark Iceland series by Ragnar Jonasson, which follows young police officer Ari Thor Arason as he moves and gets used to life in small-town northern Iceland. The events take place after those of BLACKOUT, so I would recommend definitely reading that one before you pick up RUPTURE for developments in Ari Thor’s life and a proper introduction to the journalist, Isrun.

This novel in many ways marks a return to the form of SNOWBLIND, but also captures the benefits of the blended storylines Jonasson employs as part of BLACKOUT. There are so many different elements to this novel – stalking, kidnapping, random suspicious deaths, political intrigue and scandal, cold cases, and even a medical quarantine of an entire town – that every page brings you something different and unexpected, yet not a single event feels out of place thanks to Jonasson’s stark, beautifully minimalist style that refuses to sensationalize anything out of proportion.

One of the other remarkable achievements of this novel is the balance Jonasson strikes between the two storylines. Ari Thor’s investigation involves the isolation and claustrophobia of a small town that made SNOWBLIND so compelling, and the cold-case that he is following is a classic worthy of Agatha Christie – a fatal “accident” with a limited number of parties involved and many deeply buried family secrets. Isrun’s investigation, on the other hand, is absolutely packed with action, intrigue and wide-ranging consequences… and yet both stories have equal gravity, quality and weight. There really is something for all types of crime fiction fans contained in RUPTURE.

Once again, I also have to point out the quality of the characterizations in this series; it’s evident again in this installment. All characters, even secondary characters, have finely crafted and very human motivations – Jonasson does a masterful job of capturing those little nuances that drive people, from the lies that spiral out of control, to real reactions to shock, to people acting when they are in danger.

I have to once again wholeheartedly recommend reading the Dark Iceland series, and RUPTURE is a worthy addition to a series that is rapidly becoming one of my absolute favourites.

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