I’m joining the blog tour for The Mist today – many thanks to Sriya Varadharajan at Michael Joseph for the invite and for sending me a gifted copy of the book 💙
The blurb …
Just before Christmas a blizzard sweeps across Iceland. In their remote farmhouse, Era and Einar are hunkering down for the night – when there’s a knock at the door.
It’s a stranger, desperate for shelter. They take him in – but they’ll wish they hadn’t. Because this man is not who he says he is. And, when the power cuts out, it’s the beginning of a terrifying ordeal.
Detective Hulda Hermannsdottir – recovering from a family tragedy – is called to an isolated farmhouse and a haunting mystery …
My review …
The Mist is the third in the Hidden Iceland series but I found it to be an excellent standalone read. Although if I’d had the time before my blog tour date, I would definitely liked to have read the series from the start as the author has very cleverly written them in reverse chronological order, which is so original and intriguing. But like I said, reading The Mist first didn’t take anything away from this fantastic Nordic Noir thriller, which is a genre that I’m really warming up to. I’ve read a couple of books lately which are set in Iceland at Christmas time and I’ve really enjoyed learning about the different traditions, especially that of gifting books on Christmas Eve or St Thorlakur’s Mass and spending the rest of the holiday reading!
Anyhow there’s nothing cosy about this story. It starts in February 1988 where we meet Hulda Hermannsdottir who has returned to work following a dreadful family tragedy. She is clearly depressed and struggling to function but takes on a new case to investigate after bodies are found at an isolated farmhouse. We are then taken back to a few days before Christmas where we are introduced to farmer Einar and his wife Erla. For Einar, farming is in his blood, but Erla feels suffocated by the loneliness and isolation of rural Iceland in the winter as they are snowed in and cut off from the community. The night before Christmas Eve, Erla and Einar are making the last preparations for christmas, and hoping that their daughter can make it through the blizzard to join them the next day, when a stranger knocks at the door looking for refuge. It is in Einar’s nature to be welcoming and helpful but Erla is more apprehensive, made worse by the subsequent power cut. The tension gradually builds as Erla becomes increasingly anxious. Who is this man? Why was he really out in a snow storm the day before Christmas eve?
The story alternates between Einar and Erla and then back to Detective Hulda’s home life as she prepares for Christmas with her husband and daughter and builds up to the tragedy that is alluded to at the beginning.
The author creates an incredible atmosphere in this story with the weather, the darkness, the remote landscape and sensational descriptive writing that I felt a real eeriness and tension as I was reading. And because we know at the beginning that bodies are found and that Hulda suffers a tragedy, I was just waiting for something terrible to happen to all of the characters, which was brilliantly unsettling.
I loved the author’s clean and smart writing style and the plot is so cleverly constructed, with convincing yet troubled characters, that I had no chance of figuring out the mystery. It really had me puzzled and I was gripped right from the start.
Highly recommended, it is the perfect wintery thriller to curl up with this Christmas!
I will definitely be reading the rest of the series, even though I’ll be reading it backwards, as I’m so intrigued by Hulda’s character and I’d like to find out more about her relationship with her husband.
P.S. Make sure to read the author’s notes at the end 🎄
About the author …
Ragnar Jonasson is an international number one bestselling author who has sold over one and a half million books worldwide. He was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he also works as an investment banker 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. His critically acclaimed international bestseller The Darkness is soon to be a major TV series.
Thanks for reading and make sure to follow the rest of the tour reviews!