Title: The Mist (Hidden Iceland #3)
Author: Ragnar Jónasson
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Date of publication: PB November 2020
Genre: Thriller & Mystery
Format reviewed: NetGalley E-ARC
Number of pages: 320
1987. An isolated farm house in the east of Iceland.
The snowstorm should have shut everybody out. But it didn’t.
The couple should never have let him in. But they did.
An unexpected guest, a liar, a killer. Not all will survive the night. And Detective Hulda will be haunted forever.
Right from the beginning, The Mist has this Icelandic touch that Ragnar Jónasson excels at. The snow, the claustrophobia that comes with being stranded in your own house, but also with your thoughts for company, and the cold that even the most powerful feelings can’t warm.
This third installment in the Hidden Iceland series takes us back to 1988, around Christmas. A bit before, a couple of months after, and what lies in between is a story of pure horror. I am not a horror fan, you know, the Halloween kind, but this book… Oh this book holds my beloved kind of horror. The paths that should not cross, the what-ifs, and the heavy weight of fate.
I love this series of a particular reason: it’s reverse order. When you read the first two books, you get to meet and know the main character, Hulda Hermannsdóttir, forced into retirement at 64, then at the peak of her career… And now, in The Mist, you reach the heart of Hulda’s story. And yet, it is not the main plot. Instead, Ragnar Jónasson distills her life around a chilling case. I can only applaud this choice as it flowed perfectly with his writing style and what makes Scandi-Noir different.
There’s a definite Agatha Christie feel in the air with The Mist. A couple in the middle of a snowstorm, awaiting Christmas in their lonely farm. A knock at the door. I would have hidden under the bed! And taken the book with me! The mystery was ensnaring and the atmosphere intoxicating. Too much nature can kill you! The beautiful and sharply descriptive writing style perfectly served both the intrigue and the characterization. The balance was so good that I felt close enough to Hulda to hold her hand, and somehow detached from the case… Now let me explain! The investigation is absolutely brilliant. A freezing puzzle that makes your brain work full time. But there was also a kind of step back from it as Hulda’s personal life was seeping into every line. The mix had me emotionally reeling and intellectually running a marathon. I loved both sides and can’t put words on how tore up I was between solving a case and saving Hulda.
I really really don’t want to say anything at all about the plot. The tragedy is too striking to deprive you of its power.
I truly believe this is the right kind of book for crime lovers to dive into during Christmas!
Grab your copy!
I would like to thank Sriya for inviting me to be part of this tour and the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.