Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

The Darkness

Iceland series (book 1)

This book is included in The Icelanders Cometh crowdfunding campaign run by the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign to raise money for UK libraries to spend on titles translated into English by Icelandic authors to mark World Book Night and UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day.


A young woman is found dead on a remote Icelandic beach … She came looking for safety, but instead she found a watery grave … A hasty police investigation determines her death as suicide …

When Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavik police is forced into early retirement, she is told she can investigate one last cold case of her choice – and she knows which one.

What she discovers is far darker than suicide … And no one is telling Hulda the whole story.

When her own colleagues try to put the brakes on her investigation, Hulda has just days to discover the truth. A truth she will risk her own life to find.


‘An intelligent, provocative whodunit with a killer twist.’ Ian Rankin

‘Icelandic detective Hulda Hermannsdottir is the best tragic heroine our reviewer has read for years.’ Must Read List, The Times

‘A superb thriller.’ Summer Reads, The Sunday Times

‘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

‘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, Ten Thrillers to Die For, Daily Mail

‘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

‘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

‘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

‘Superb … Chilling … and establishes her as a great tragic heroine of modern detective fiction.’ Joan Smith, Crime Book of the Month, Sunday Times

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

‘This trilogy is off to an addictive and compelling start.’ Bookreporter
‘There’s an addictiveness to The Darkness that elevates this read ….’ Crime by the Book
‘If you think you know how frigid Iceland can be, this blistering [book] from Jónasson has news for you: It’s much, much colder than you’ve ever imagined. Warmly recommended for hot summer nights.’ Kirkus Reviews