Anne Bonny #BookReview The Island by Ragnar Jonasson 5* #CrimeFiction #Icelandic #Hulda #Triology

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The Island by Ragnar Jonasson
My Own Copy ~ Hardback

Synopsis ~

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?

Haunting, suspenseful and as chilling as an Icelandic winter, The Island follows one woman’s journey to find the truth hidden in the darkest shadows, and shine a light on her own dark past.

My Review ~

The Island is the much anticipated follow-up to The Darkness Hulda Hermannsdottir #2. The trilogy is working backwards and with this title we are transported to the 1980’s and 1990’s with a case from Hulda’s past…

‘I’m so glad you’re home’
The novel opens in 1988 in Kopavogur. We are aware that it is a scene with a babysitter and the 7yr old child they are watching. But we are unaware of who they are and how they fit into the storyline. But as usual, all will slowly be revealed…
‘There were two of them’

The novel jumps to 1987 and we follow a young couple very much in love, that are travelling from Isafjordur to Mjoifjordur. They are telling old Icelandic ghost stories of witch burnings and black magic.
Across Iceland Hulda is being overlooked for promotion and is beginning to feel the burn of being a female in a male dominated career. Especially when the position in question is given to a colleague with less police experience than Hulda.
The team are made aware of a young woman in her 20’s missing from a holiday home in Mjoifjordur. Inspector Andres of the Isafjordur police attends due to the remote location of the area. He finds a deserted holiday home and the body of a dead female.
Was this an accident? A fall? or Murder?

‘Andres had an uncomfortable foreboding that a terrible crime had been committed here’

A potential murderer is quickly identified and the case appears to be solved. But did he do it? Or is the case being solved far too quickly and far too easily?

The novel now jumps to 1997, It is the 10th anniversary of the victim’s death. The anniversary is dragging up feelings of guilt and a desire for the truth to be told. But can the individual reach the police before the killer reaches them…
‘I think it’s time the truth came out’

‘Some crimes are so despicable that revenge is justified’

Hulda is currently alone, with no one in her life. But a search for a father that has never known she existed…
‘She felt so alone in the world, so lonely’

The novel kept me guessing right up to the last pages. I thought I had it all figured out! that was until the author’s big reveal. I absolutely CANNOT wait to read the next title in the trilogy… The Mist (2020 release).
Ragnar Jonasson is so very clever! 5* 

RJ
Ragnar Jonasson
Website
Twitter
My Review of The Darkness

Anne Bonny #BookReview Someone To watch Over Me by @YrsaSig Yrsa Sigurdardottir 5* #CrimeFiction #IcelandicNoir ‘A cracking crime fiction thriller and I applaud the author for her accurate and inclusive cast of characters. 5*’

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Someone To watch Over Me by Yrsa Sigurdardottir – Thora Gudmundsdottir  #5
Translated by Philip Roughton

My own copy from tbr pile
Synopsis:

A creepy, compelling thriller, SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME is the fifth Thora Gudmundsdottir novel from Yrsa, ‘Iceland’s answer to Stieg Larsson’ (Daily Telegraph).

A young man with Down’s Syndrome has been convicted of burning down his care home and killing five people, but a fellow inmate at his secure psychiatric unit has hired Thora to prove that Jakob is innocent.

If he didn’t do it, who did? And how is the multiple murder connected to the death of Magga, killed in a hit and run on her way to babysit?

My Review:

This is #5 in the Thora Gudmundsdottir series. I initially picked it to read, because of its unique synopsis. A young male (Jakob) accused of a violent and fatal crime, but also a character central to the story with downs syndrome. I was intrigued to see how the author would tackle the themes of learning difficulties, in a crime fiction novel. I was not disappointed, at all. What I got was a snapshot into life in a secure psychiatric unit and Thora’s relentless quest for justice.

The novel opens with an eerie scene of a young boy (4yrs) seemingly being haunted by a spirit. It immediately gave me goose bumps and I wondered how much of the novel would contain a supernatural element.

In January 2010, Thora is requested to visit Josteinn Karlsson. He is an inmate at a secure psychiatric unit Sogn; with seven other patients. Josteinn is a prolific child abuser, certified guilty but insane. He has been diagnosed with acute schizophrenia and personality disorders. He has resided at Sogn for 8yrs now and Thora wonders why he would suddenly request her assistance. She informs Josteinn she cannot help with his case, that it is entirely beyond her remit. However, it isn’t her case he wants her to investigate. . .

‘He’s my friend. A good friend’ – Josteinn

Josteinn wishes for her to investigate the case of fellow patient/inmate Jakob. Who is remanded to Sogn due to an act of arson, that left five people dead. Josteinn claims Jakob is innocent, because he knows what it takes to commit such a heinous act and he believes Jakob to be innocent.

Reluctantly, Thora takes the case. She begins her investigation by talking to Jakob’s mother Grimheidur Porjarnardottir. Jakob’s mother brings Thora up to speed, on how she has raised Jakob and the authoritarian approach social services has had over their lives. I found this to be very true to life. There have been multiple cases in the British press; where adults with care needs enter a residential setting against the parents wishes, only for there to be an incident of harm to them or others. Jakob’s mother also sheds light upon a life of little support, being dictated to and not listened to. He was at the sheltered accommodation, only 16 months before the fire occurred.

Their so called support was just the opposite: you never got what you wanted, and you never wanted what you got’ – Grimheidur Porjarnardottir

Thora begins to investigate the residential setting, going into business and patient’s records. The setting was a new-build, designed for five residents aged between 18yrs-25ys. The home’s residents had a wide-range of needs. Lisa was a comatose patient. Sigridur was blind and deaf. Natan was severely epileptic and heavily medicated at night. Tryggvi was severely autistic and never left his room. All perished in the fire, along with the night watchman.
But what was life really like inside the setting? How can Thora get to the truth when the patients are deceased?

‘A sheltered community should be a safe haven for the unfortunate, like a fortress to protect the most needy and vulnerable members of society. But that was clearly not the case. What had actually happened there?’

When Thora digs into the post mortem of resident Lisa, she will uncover a shocking case of abuse.Was the fire to cover up the abuse of a disabled resident?
Was it really Jakob that set the fire?

Thora also begins to receive cryptic random text messages, that are drip fed into the narrative as clues. We the reader, come to understand what they mean, before Thora. At this point I was literally screaming at the kindle. The tension and stakes were THAT high!
Thora questions the motives of Josteinn throughout. Why would a outwardly soulless man care for the future of Jakob’s plight?

‘I can promise you that I have only bad intentions’ – Josteinn

Every book brings something unique, but what this book brings is an honest portrayal of a wide-range of characters with additional needs. I think the author did a brilliant job of the portrayal of the shady people that can be involved in the care of society’s most vulnerable. The cast of residents is written incredibly well, especially the character Tryggvi. My son is autistic, so I rarely read novels with this condition. But when I do I like to see the needs portrayed as accurately as possible, which the author fully achieved.

A cracking crime fiction thriller and I applaud the author for her accurate and inclusive cast of characters. 5*

YS
Yrsa Sigurdardottir
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My review of, The Undesired
My review of, The Reckoning
My Review of, The Legacy
My review of, Why Did You Lie?

New release: The legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir 5*

the-legacy

My review:

In this day and age, what self respecting reader doesn’t love a bit of Scandi, Swedish & Icelandic Noir? I for one am a huge fan! That being said this was my first read by this author. A friend had recommend the author to me and when I saw this available on netgalley. I requested as quick as a flash.

The Novel opens with an intense prologue, it soon centres around a very dark & Violent crime the torture murder of a young mother. The themes within the novel of adoption & childhood psychological damage, work very well together. It had me constantly trying to figure out where all the characters fit into the story. It did have the feel of a police procedural but with the added intrigue of the children’s house, a supportive environment for children at risk of mental health problems. The characters of Freyja the psychologist, Huldar the cop and Margret the child witness are incredibly well written. Not forgetting creepy Karl who gave me the heebee geebies from the first time he is mentioned. The codes to decipher within the novel was very cleverly done!

Many times this novel had chapters that left you on mini cliff-hangers throughout the story. So it kept you gripped and engaged as it moved around the different characters. The ending was brilliant & the conclusion I didn’t guess. I love how the author even saved a last little bit of eerie for the epilogue. Can’t wait to read the next in the series and loved this 5* read!

The legacy is available for pre-order and is released on 23rd March, treat yourself!

*I received a netgalley Ebook copy in return for an honest review.