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Snowblind

Dark Iceland
Narrated by: Thor Kristjansson
Series: Dark Iceland, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (243 ratings)

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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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.”

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Dull

I feel that the book would be better read myself. The narration was to dull and I couldn't stay focused.

1 person found this helpful

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

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”.

1 person found this helpful

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

fantastic Narration

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

1 person found this helpful

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

Great book. full of atmosphere

All of Ragnar Jonassons books should be read by Thor Kristjánsson. Great stuff. atmospheric, dark, moody, full of snow, everything you would expect from an Icelandic author. Thor reads wonderfully. so good to hear foreign authors read in their own accent.