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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson.

A young woman, an asylum seeker from Russia, is found murdered on the seaweed-covered rocks of the Vatnsleysuströnd in Iceland. Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykjavik Police is called to investigate this - the final case in her career before she is forced into retirement.

When Hulda starts to ask questions, it isn't long before she realises that no-one can be trusted and that no-one is telling the whole truth.

Spanning Reykjavik, the Icelandic highlands and the cold, isolated fjords, The Darkness is a classy new thriller from one of the most exciting new names in Scandi noir.

©2018 Ragnar Jónasson (P)2018 Penguin AudioBooks

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Icy Cool Refreshment

I was in two minds about this one, like many I enjoy a bit of Nordic Noir but a one-off book about a 64 year old lady detective coming up to retirement? To my shame I wasn't entirely sure that would appeal to me. By the end of my listen though I was thinking that a series involving Hulda Hermannsdottir might have been an interesting prospect.

To be fair during the early parts of the book I wasn't so sure but given the relative brevity I was impressed by just how detailed a view Jonasson was able to give of his characters and how strong a feeling of place he evoked of his Icelandic setting. It has a refreshingly different feel to most of the thrillers I've read recently.

The ending is also extremely strong in my view and not something I saw coming. There is a lot of clever irony in the epilogue too which seemed particularly poignant.

Amanda Redman carried the story well with her narration without ever being over-demonstrative and the whole thing generates a decent atmosphere.

I often find it hard recommending shorter books like this but in this case I'd definitely put it in the worth a shot category.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful

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

Six stars for breaking with conventions.


A small little book with a tremendous punch, a daring look into how we perceive and how we are perceived, a walk on the dark side of a person's life.

I do not want to say too much and spoil the story so that I will recommend it with some caveats: do not expect the usual formula or a story that just entertains.

My wife and I talked for hours about it, and that alone makes it a worthy read, even if you do not agree, and we did not.

This is actual literature, Ragnar Jónasson is a writer that elevates the genre to a place where characters are flawed and human, that is not something we see often enough

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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

Great story. Disappointing narration

Read much too quickly by Amanda. Perhaps down to editing ?
Also her Icelandic pronunciation was dreadful.
Shame as I really enjoyed the story

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • AWH
  • London
  • 22-03-18

Strangely simplistic writing

What disappointed you about The Darkness?

I don't know whether its the fault of the translation or the original writing but this very short novel is written in a very simplistic fashion - its a bit like reading a detective novel written for children. It also can't be described as a page-turner as the plot is plodding and the reading oddly flat and unengaging. I am very puzzled by the largely positive reviews.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Far more interesting and suspenseful story

What didn’t you like about Amanda Redman’s performance?

Oddly rushed breathless and still flat delivery

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Great story well written well performed

Unusual approach to a murder mystery, well written and with an excellent performance, very well read and enjoyable to listen to.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Enjoyable listen

Very good reading of an enjoyable police drama/thriller. I share with other reviewers a sense of ultimate disappointment regarding the ending... and not just the denouement but the general way this story slides towards the end.

No spoilers though!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

So long winded, only liked the end, perhaps book 2 will be better now the main character has been introduced, also not keen on narration

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Poor narration

I found it a Good book with a twist but spoilt by a rushed narration

0 of 1 people found this review helpful