Title: The Island
Author: Ragnar Jónasson
Series: Hidden Iceland #2
Publisher: Michael Joseph UK
Autumn of 1987 takes a young couple on a romantic trip in the Westfjords holiday – a trip that gets an unexpected ending and has catastrophic consequences.
Ten years later a small group of friends go for a weekend in an old hunting lodge in Elliðaey. A place completely cut off from the outside world, to reconnect. But one of them isn’t going to make it make alive. And Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is determined to find the truth in the darkness.
The Island is a beautifully written, addictive detective story which gripped me from the start. It’s a unique concept – this series actually goes backwards, so we started the series on book 1 (The Darkness – read my review here) where something dramatic and shocking happens to one of its main characters, and from there we move back in time with this book (book 2), to 10 years before. Because of this, the reader is aware of what will happen to certain people which certainly changes how you read and process the story – but for me, this was definitely for the better. The reader can pick up on certain parts which might not be obvious otherwise, because you’re more aware of the potential significance.
The characters are interesting, particularly Detective Hulda who is a deep and many layered character. She’s blunt and a little spiky at times but she’s been through a lot, so I found her ultimately really likable despite this.
The main plot is really interesting as it follows Hulda’s investigation into the death of a women who seemed to fall of the edge of a cliff in a remote area of Iceland. The group of friends had been holidaying there, commemorating 10 years since the death of another of their friends, and so the first third of the novel focuses on their experiences, building up the tension as we wonder what’s going to happen. The plot moves at just the right pace to keep the suspense high without being over the top.
The setting of this novel is, like in The Darkness, atmospheric and a times quite eerie, and I love the claustrophobic feel of this book. I don’t feel like you need to read this as part of the series if you don’t want to, although you’ll undoubtedly pick up more if you do read the first novel before. It’s a tightly plotted, enjoyable read which I’d really recommend.
Many thanks to the Michael Joseph UK for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
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