‘The Island’ by Ragnar Jónasson #NetGalley #BookReview @ragnarjo @MichaelJBooks


Author: Ragnar Jónasson

Genre: Crime Thriller

Format: Hardcover 352 pages

Release Date:  4 April 2019

Publisher: Michael Joseph

I would like to thank the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Four friends visit the island.

But only three return . . .

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords.

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts?

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her.

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

Haunting, suspenseful and as chilling as an Icelandic winter, The Island follows one woman’s journey to find the truth hidden in the darkest shadows, and shine a light on her own dark past.

My Thoughts

Despite this being the second book in ‘The Hidden Island’ series this book on it’s own is entirely capable of being read as a standalone. I personally haven’t read the first book in the series and at no point whilst reading this book did I feel that I was missing out parts. 

I absolutely love books set in Iceland and it’s probably one of my most favourite places to have a crime thriller set. The fact that murder in Iceland is statistically quite low means that when a murder does happen it’s that much more sinister. I love being transported to the isolated regions of Iceland and picturing the mountains and desolate landscape. 

This book is set in two parts, the events from 1987 when a young girl visits her summer home in the isolated regions of Iceland but unfortunately never returns, and then 10 years later, when her four friends reunite, and again, one of them unfortunately doesn’t return. 

I really enjoyed how the author cast suspicion over various different characters as the story progressed. At first I was thinking it was one person, and then a few chapters later I started thinking it was someone else. Nothing ever really added up until the end. 

Hulda is the lead detective investigating the crimes and she is a woman attempting to break the glass ceiling of female policing in Iceland. This book is set back in 1997 so I would like to think that the times have changed since then, but Hulda has been passed over for promotion by her male counterparts on numerous occasions and she feels like she has to work twice as hard to prove herself. I really enjoyed reading along with Hulda as she diligently investigated the murder leaving no stone unturned and she is very much a character I wanted to see succeed. 

I throughly enjoyed curling up on the sofa on these unseasonably cold April days recently and being transported to Iceland along with Hulda. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for the next instalment in this series.  

About the Author

Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavík, Iceland, where he works as a writer and a lawyer and teaches copyright law at Reykjavík 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. 

The Darkness is the first novel in his Hidden Iceland series, to be followed by The Island and The Mist.

For more reviews and updates you can follow me on Twitter @BooksBucks

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