cover image Blackout

Blackout

Ragnar Jónasson, trans. from the Icelandic by Quentin Bates. Minotaur, $28.99

Jónasson’s captivating third Ari Thór Arason whodunit to be translated into English (after 2017’s Nightblind) finds Ari Thór, a policeman in the small Icelandic town of Siglufjördur, troubled by his recent breakup with the woman he once considered the only one for him. He’s distracted from his personal woes by a murder case; someone has killed contractor Elías Freysson by smashing him in the face with a length of timber studded with a nail. The victim was known for his charitable work, but the discovery in Freysson’s rooms of a duffel bag stuffed with cash suggests that the man was involved in something underhanded. The police inquiry parallels that of a psychologist-turned-journalist, Ísrún, who hopes her digging will strengthen her professional standing. Meanwhile, Hlynur Ísaksson, a colleague of Ari Thór’s, has been receiving threatening emails that revive memories of a past shame. The relatively mundane murder solution doesn’t detract from Jónasson’s impressive ability to make human despair palpable. [em]Agent: David Headley, DHH Literary Agency (U.K.). (Aug.) [/em]