Ragnar Jonasson is the award winning author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series and the Hidden Iceland series. He has sold over 600,000 books worldwide, thereof over 300,000 thousand books in France in just two years. His books are published in 21 languages in over 30 countries and his debut, Snowblind, went to number one in the Amazon Kindle charts shortly after publication in the UK. The book was also a no. 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in Australia. The second book in the series, Nightblind, also became a no. 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in Australia. Ragnar is also a no. 1 Crime Fiction Bestseller in France, with Blackout topping the crime fiction charts in France in 2019. Ragnar is the winner of the Mörda Dead Good Reader Award 2016 for Nightblind. His latest book in the UK, The Darkness, was selected as the Sunday Times Crime Novel of the Month and Snowblind was selected by The Independent as one of the best crime novels of 2015. His books have also won praise from publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. Ragnar is the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. Ragnar has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik. Ragnar has a law degree and works as an investment banker in Reykjavik, in addition to teaching law at Reykjavik University.
Four friends visit the island.
But only three return . . .
Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords.
Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts?
As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her.
But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?
Excerpt from The Island
The babysitter was late.
The couple hardly ever went out in the evening, so they
had been careful to check she was free well in advance. She had babysat for them a few times before and lived in the next street, but apart from that they didn’t know much about her, or her family either, though they knew her mother to speak to when they ran into her in the neigh- bourhood. But their seven-year-old daughter looked up to the girl, who was twenty-one and seemed very grown-up and glamorous to her. She was always talking about how much fun they had together, what pretty clothes she wore and what exciting bedtime stories she told. Their daugh- ter’s eagerness to have her round to babysit made the couple feel less guilty about accepting the invitation; they felt reassured that their little girl would not only be in good hands but would enjoy herself too. They had arranged for the girl to babysit from six until midnight, but it was already past six, getting on for half past, in fact, and the dinner was due to start at seven. The husband wanted to ring and ask what had happened to her, but his wife was reluctant to make a fuss: she’d turn up.
It was a Saturday evening in March and the atmos- phere had been one of happy anticipation until the babysitter failed to turn up. The couple were looking for- ward to an entertaining evening with the wife’s colleagues from the ministry and their daughter was excited about spending the evening watching films with the babysitter. They didn’t own a VCR but, as it was a special occasion, father and daughter had gone down to the local video shop and rented a machine and three tapes, and the little girl had permission to stay up as late as she liked, until she ran out of steam.
It was just after half past six when the doorbell finally rang. The family lived on the second floor of a small block of flats in Kópavogur, the town immediately to the south of Reykjavík. It was a sleepy sort of place, stuck between Reykjavík and other towns in the metropolitan area, with most of its inhabitants commuting to work in the capital.
The mother picked up the entryphone. It was the baby- sitter at last. She appeared at their door a few moments later, soaked to the skin, and explained that she’d walked over. It was raining so hard it looked like she’d had a bucket of water emptied over her head. She apologized, embarrassed, for being so late.
The couple waved away her apologies, thanked her for standing in for them, reminded her of the main house rules and asked if she knew how to work a video recorder, at which point their daughter broke in to say she didn’t need any help. Clearly, she could hardly wait to bundle her parents out of the door so the video-fest could begin.
In spite of the taxi waiting outside, the mother couldn’t tear herself away. Although they went out from time to time, she wasn’t very used to leaving her daughter. ‘Don’t worry,’ the babysitter said at last. ‘I’ll take good care of her.’ She looked comfortingly reliable as she said this and she’d always done a good job of looking after their daughter in the past. So they finally headed out into the downpour towards the taxi.
As the evening wore on, the mother began to feel increas- ingly anxious about their daughter.
‘Don’t be silly,’ said her husband. ‘I bet she’s having a whale of a time.’ Glancing at his watch, he added: ‘She’ll be on her second or third film by now, and they’ll have polished off all the ice cream.’
‘Do you think they’d let me use the phone at the front desk?’ asked his wife.
‘It’s a bit late to ring them now, isn’t it? I expect they’re asleep in front of the TV.’
In the end, they set off home a little earlier than planned, just after eleven. The three-course dinner was over by then, and, to be honest, it had been a bit under- whelming. The main course, which was lamb, had been bland at best and, after dinner, people had piled on to the crowded dance floor. To begin with, the DJ had played popular oldies, but then he moved on to more recent chart hits, which weren’t really the couple’s sort of thing, although they still liked to think of themselves as young. After all, they weren’t middle-aged yet.
They rode home in silence, the rain streaming down the taxi’s windows. The truth was they weren’t really party people; they were too fond of their creature com- forts at home, and the evening had tired them out, though they hadn’t drunk much, just a glass of red wine with dinner.
As they got out of the taxi, the wife remarked that she hoped their daughter was asleep so they could both crawl straight into bed.
They climbed the stairs without hurrying and opened the door instead of ringing the bell, for fear of disturbing their child. But she wasn’t asleep, as it turned out. She came running to greet them, threw her arms around them and hugged them unusually tightly. To their surprise, she was wide awake.
‘You’re full of beans,’ said her father, smiling at her.
‘I’m so glad you’re home,’ said the little girl. There was an odd look in her eye: something was wrong.
The babysitter emerged from the sitting room and smiled sweetly at them.
‘How did it go?’ asked the mother.
‘Really well,’ the babysitter replied. ‘Your daughter is such a good girl. We watched two videos; a couple of com- edies. She really enjoyed them. And she ate the meatballs you’d prepared – most of them – and a lot of popcorn too.’
‘Thanks so much for coming; I don’t know what we’d have done without you.’
The father took his wallet from his jacket, counted out some notes and handed them to her. ‘Is that right?’
She counted the money herself, then nodded. ‘Yes, perfect.’
After she’d left, the father turned to their daughter. ‘Aren’t you tired, sweetheart?’
‘Yes, maybe a little. But could we watch just a bit more?’ Her father shook his head, saying kindly: ‘Sorry, it’s
‘Oh, please. I don’t want to go to bed yet,’ said the little
girl, sounding on the verge of tears.
‘OK, OK.’ He ushered her into the sitting room. The
TV schedule was over for the evening but he turned on the video machine and inserted a new cassette.
Then he joined her on the sofa and they waited for the film to begin.
‘It was a nice evening, wasn’t it?’
‘Yes . . . yes, it was fine,’ she said, not very convincingly. ‘She was . . . kind to you, wasn’t she?’
‘Yes,’ answered the child. ‘Yes, they were both kind.’ Her father was puzzled. ‘What do you mean, both?’ he
‘There were two of them.’
Turning round to look at her, he asked again, gently:
‘What do you mean by them?’
‘There were two of them.’
‘Did one of her friends come round?’
There was a brief pause before the girl answered. Seeing the fear in her eyes, he gave an involuntary shiver. ‘No. But it was kind of weird, Daddy . . .’
Dark Iceland series
- Snowblind (2010; translation of Snjóblinda, 2009)
- Blackout (2011; translation of Myrknætti, 2011)
- Rupture (2012; translation of Rof, 2012)
- Whiteout (2013; translation of Andköf, 2013)
- Nightblind (2014; translation of Náttblinda, 2014)
Hidden Iceland series
- The Darkness (2018; translation of Dimma, 2015)
- The Island (2019; translation of Drungi, 2016
The Island Amazon book Page
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