The Darkness
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The Darkness : If you like Saga Noren from The Bridge, then you'll love Hulda Hermannsdottir

3.53 (2,283 ratings by Goodreads)
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FEATURED IN THE TIMES TOP 100 CRIME NOVELS SINCE 1945

One of Ian Rankin's favourite books of the year - 'An intelligent, provocative whodunit with a killer twist'
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A body is found off the coast of Iceland.

A young Russian woman, Elena, hoped to find a fresh start.

Instead she found death.

A cursory police investigation calls it suicide.

Another statistic, she's soon forgotten . . .

But not by Reykjavik Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir.

Difficult and unconventional, Hulda is being forced into early retirement.

Offered one last cold case to investigate she chooses Elena's.

On discovering another woman has vanished, she believes a killer roams free.

Her colleagues, however, think she's out to cause trouble.

With days before she's stripped of her badge, can Hulda catch the killer alone?
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'The ending really took my breath away and that's hard for writers to do to me these days . . . It was a complete surprise and I should have seen it coming and I didn't. [Hulda] is a fantastic, complex 3D character and I want to see more of her, so hurray, this is the first of a three book series' Ian Rankin on Simon Mayo

'Superb . . . chilling . . . one of the greatest tragic heroines of contemporary detective fiction' Sunday Times

'Outstanding' Daily Mail

'The perfect territory for mystery [writers]' New York Times

'Expertly plotted, with an ending that's a true shocker' Guardian

'Magnificently dark and twisted and that ending - blimey!' C. J. Tudor, bestselling author of The Chalk Man

Pick of the Paperbacks, Sunday Times

'Outstanding series debut . . . builds to its stunning conclusion, one of the more remarkable in recent crime fiction' Publishers Weekly

'The Darkness melds an insightful character study with a solid plot for an outstanding novel' Washington Post
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 21mm | 245g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1405930802
  • 9781405930802
  • 21,767

Review Text

An intelligent, provocative whodunit with a killer twist Ian Rankin
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Review quote

A very good book, gripping and interesting, with all the threads carefully managed. Hopefully the author will publish as many books as possible with lead character Hulda * Vikan Magazine, on The Island * The threads lie in various places, the plot is well woven and the pieces in the puzzle come together well in the end. The structure is good, the main characters are believable, the story flows well, everyone is a suspect a la Agatha Christie and the solution unveils the mystery and leads the readers to the truth. But not all the truth, as some things are better left hidden * Morgunbladid (Icelandic newspaper) * Out of all of Ragnar's books, this is the one I like the most . . . The book of his which reminds me most of Agatha Christie * Kiljan, on The Island * Hulda Hermannsdottir is a welcome addition to the selection of Icelandic crime fiction protagonists . . . It is almost impossible to put the book down until the last word has been read * Frettabladid **** * Jonasson's books have breathed new life into Nordic noir ...all the skilful plotting of an old-fashioned whodunit although it feels bitingly contemporary in setting and tone * Sunday Express * The ending hits the reader like a kick in the stomach * FRETTATIMINN **** * Seductive ... an old-fashioned murder mystery with a strong central character and the fascinating background of a small Icelandic town cut off by snow. Ragnar does claustrophobia beautifully -- Ann Cleeves Distinctive blend of Nordic noir and golden age detective fiction...atmospheric...economical and evocative prose * The Guardian on Nightblind * Ragnar Jonasson writes with a chilling, poetic beauty - a must-read addition to the growing canon of Iceland Noir -- Peter James A modern take on Agatha Christie---style mystery, as twisty as any slalom . . . -- Ian Rankin, on * Snowblind * A classic crime story seen through a uniquely Icelandic lens... first rate and highly recommended -- Lee Child, on * Snowblind * No country associated with the label Nordic noir is as bleak, cold, snowy and empty as Iceland. And no crime writer portrays those elements as evocatively and scarily as Ragnar Jonasson * The Times * Praise for Ragnar Jonasson * - * The Darkness is a true masterpiece of a crime novel, introducing an original protagonist, a plot full of twists and turns and an ending that leaves you gasping for air -- Yrsa Sigurdardottir * author of the bestselling Thora Gudmundsdottir crime series * Unbearably sinister * Helen Callaghan, bestselling author of Dear Amy * Another masterpiece from the King of Icelandic Noir -- Thomas Enger * bestselling author of the Henning Juul series * Page-turning stuff with an unexpected ending! * James Swallow * The Darkness is Ragnar Jonasson at the top of his game - deft plotting, a great central character and a story as chilling as the Icelandic winter. I couldn't put it down -- William Ryan * author of The Holy Thief * Was gripped from the start of this brilliantly told story. And left wide-eyed with shock at the ending * Fiona Barton, bestselling author of The Widow * The Darkness is a bullet train of a novel, at once blazingly contemporary and Agatha-Christie old-fashioned. With prose as pure and crisp as Reykjavik snowcrust, Ragnar Jonasson navigates the treacherous narrative with a veteran's hand. I reached the end with adrenalized anticipation, the final twist hitting me in the face. I dare you not to be shocked -- Gregg Hurwitz * Sunday Times bestselling author of Orphan X * Crime fiction has never seen a character quite like Hulda Hermannsdoittir; nor a series launch so entirely willing to take risks and obliterate long-standing tropes . . . There is no doubt that The Darkness will rank as one of the most popular and powerful reading experiences of the year. * BOLO Books Review * It will get your pulse racing and keep you hooked to the last page * Simon Kernick of The Bone Field series * A sympathetic yet entirely unsentimental portrait of a flawed but decent detective seeking justice for a murdered Russian asylum seeker * Sunday Times Crime Club * Magnificently dark and twisted! That ending - blimey! * C. J. Tudor, bestselling author of The Chalk Man * Expertly plotted, with an ending that's a true shocker, The Darkness is the first book in a trilogy featuring this engaging investigator, which is good news * The Guardian * Superb. . . chilling . . . This is the first volume in Jonasson's Hidden Iceland trilogy, which tells Hulda's story in reverse chronological order and establishes her as one of the great tragic heroines of contemporary detective fiction * Sunday Times Crime Book of the Month * As chilling as the nip in the Icelandic air * Choice Magazine * Magnificently dark and twisted and that ending - blimey! * C. J. Tudor, bestselling author of The Chalk Man * It will get your pulse racing, and keep you hooked to the last page * Simon Kernick of The Bone Field series * It had an intense, visceral sense of place and the connection between the emotional lives of the character and the landscape was evoked beautifully * Helen Callaghan, bestselling author of Dear Amy * The Darkness is Ragnar Jonasson at the top of his game - deft plotting, a great central character and a story as chilling as the Icelandic winter. I couldn't put it down * William Ryan, author of The Holy Thief * The Darkness is a bullet train of a novel, at once blazingly contemporary and Agatha-Christie old-fashioned. With prose as pure and crisp as Reykjavik snowcrust, Ragnar Jonasson navigates the treacherous narrative with a veteran's hand. I reached the end with adrenalized anticipation, the final twist hitting me in the face. I dare you not to be shocked. * Gregg Hurwitz * Breathtaking. Read it in two sittings. Yet another instant Ragnar Jonasson classic * Thomas Enger, bestselling author of the Henning Juul series * Crime fiction has never seen a character quite like Hulda Hermannsdoittir; nor a series launch so entirely willing to take risks and obliterate long-standing tropes . . . There is no doubt that The Darkness will rank as one of the most popular and powerful reading experiences of the year * Bolo Books Review * As chilling as the nip in the Icelandic air * Choice Magazine * A true masterpiece . . . a plot full of twists and turns and an ending that leaves you gasping for air * Yrsa Sigurdardottir * Was gripped from the start of this brilliantly told story. And left wide-eyed with shock at the ending * Fiona Barton, bestselling author of The Widow * Page-turning stuff with an unexpected ending! * James Swallow, bestselling author of Nomad * Chilling - a must-read * Peter James * Expertly plotted, with an ending that's a true shocker, The Darkness is the first book in a trilogy featuring this engaging investigator, which is good news * Book of the Month, Guardian * The Darkness will have you burning the midnight oil till 2:00am. It's a gloriously compelling yarn, whose spell continues to hold even when you've turned its final page thanks to its unexpected ending. I can't wait for his next * Reader review * The ending really took my breath away and that's hard for writers to do to me these days . . . It was a complete surprise and I should have seen it coming and I didn't. [Hulda] is a fantastic, complex 3D character and I want to see more of her, so hurray, this is the first of a three book series * Ian Rankin on the Simon Mayo Podcast * It's shockingly sinister and has an ending that will leave you, literally, gasping for breath * Crimesquad * The perfect territory for mystery [writers] * New York Times * The Darkness melds an insightful character study with a solid plot for an outstanding novel * Washington Post * Outstanding series debut . . . builds to its stunning conclusion, one of the more remarkable in recent crime fiction * Publishers Weekly * Superb . . . Chilling . . . and establishes her as a great tragic heroine of modern detective fiction -- Joan Smith * Crime Book of the Month, Sunday Times * To read Ragnar Jonasson is to plunge into snowy Iceland . . . much of its atmosphere and subtle pacing to the traditional 'golden age' detective fiction as the mystery unfolds and builds to a startling climax, elegantly handled. * The Witness * The wait was worthwhile and The Darkness first in the new trilogy, is a very efficient piece of work. Jonasson has the full measure of the Nordic noir genre, and pushes all the requisite buttons * Barry Forshaw, Financial Times * If you have ever doubted the appropriateness of the phrase 'Nordic noir', The Darkness will dispel any hesitation . . . in what way this happens (and how badly) is the strength of the book. There are ever-darker surprises, culminating in a finish that leaves one with a highly disturbing image. -- BOOK OF THE WEEK * The Press * I've ONLY recently discovered the extraordinary Icelandic writer who adds several shades of darkness to Nordic noir . . . it builds to a deeply shocking climax -- Anthony Horowitz * Daily Mail, Ten Thrillers to Die For * A complex, fascinating mix of Icelandic community and alienation, atmospheric tension, and timely issues (immigrant exploitation and vigilante justice), Jonasson's latest series is another must-read for crime fans who follow the work of Arnaldur Indridason and Yrsa Sigurdardottir * Booklist * A superb thriller * Summer Reads, The Sunday Times * Icelandic detective Hulda Hermannsdottir is the best tragic heroine our reviewer has read for years * The Times, Must Read List * Superb * 100 Best Crime Novels since 1945, The Times * An intelligent, provocative whodunit with a killer twist * Ian Rankin *
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About Ragnar Jonasson

Ragnar Jonasson (Author)
Ragnar Jonasson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he works as a writer and a lawyer and teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University. He has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, and, from the age of seventeen, has translated fourteen of Agatha Christie's novels. He is an international Number One bestseller.




Victoria Cribb (Translator)
Victoria Cribb studied and worked in Iceland for many years. She has translated more than 25 novels from the Icelandic and, in 2017, she received the Ordstir honourary translation award for services to Icelandic literature.
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Rating details

2,283 ratings
3.53 out of 5 stars
5 16% (360)
4 38% (861)
3 33% (761)
2 10% (236)
1 3% (65)
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