(Review) Blackout, Book 3 of Dark Iceland by Ragnar Jonasson

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Publisher and Publication Date: Minotaur Books. Originally published in 2011. Published in the English translation 2016.
U. S. edition, August 2018.
Genre: Mystery, detective.
Pages: 272.
Source: Library.
Rating: Very good.
Audience: Readers of mystery/detective stories.

Books in the series of Dark Iceland:
Nightblind-Book 1
Snowblind-Book 2
Rupture-Book 4
Whiteout-Book 5

It’s confusing about when the books were published in English versus when they were published in Iceland.  The order in Iceland is Snowblind 2010, Blackout 2011, Rupture 2012, Whiteout 2013, Nightblind 2014.

Author page at Amazon: Ragnar Jonasson.

The books were written in the Icelandic language and later translated to English for publication.

Website for Ragnar Jonasson.

To give you a little info on the country of Iceland. The population in 2017 was 341,284. The country is 39,769 square miles. The capital and largest city is Reykjavik. Iceland is a Nordic Island, and a Scandinavian country. For further information: Britannica.

Summary:
An American art student traveling in Iceland discovers a dead body near the road. Ari is the police inspector for the case. A woman named Isrun is the journalist who is to covering the story. Other police inspectors are Tomas and Hlynur. During the investigation, the personal stories of characters are explored.

My Thoughts:
Until now, I’ve not read a book about Iceland. It’s a bit of a mystery to me. An island that has the name of ice in it. A place that seems so remote and sparse in information from the news, I had to read a book about this country, even it’s a work of fiction.
I still don’t know how to pronounce the names correctly.
The focus of the book is solving the crime of a man who was murdered and found near the roadside. However, I loved the personal stories of the journalist and police inspectors. The characters are dimensional, because they are shown for the imperfect humans they are; both their positive and negative traits are shown.  They each carry burdens and scars from their past.
A theme that runs through the book is the work of criminals goes on everywhere. Iceland is considered a country where violent crime is rare. However, the story shows evil manifests everywhere.
There is a secondary mystery story. I love it when there are secondary/understories amongst the main story. This keeps me even more interested in the reading the book.
Through the descriptive scenes, I was given a visual picture of what Iceland looks like.
The closure of Blackout left me with both a sense of unanswered questions but a deep sadness. A sadness because not all of the characters have happy endings.
I’m definitely interested in reading more Ari Thor Thriller books in this series.

(Review) The Monastery Murders: A Stanton and Barling Mystery by E.M. Powell

 

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Publisher and Publication Date: Thomas & Mercer. September 27, 2018.
Genre: Historical Fiction.
Series: Stanton and Barling #2.
Pages: 288.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Recommend. Good.
Audience: Readers of mystery books and medieval history.

The ebook on Amazon Kindle Unlimited is free right now.

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Landing Page

Summary:
Their lives are ones of quiet contemplation—and brutal murder.
Christmas Eve, 1176. Brother Maurice, monk of Fairmore Abbey, awaits the night prayer bell. But there is only silence. Cursing his fellow brother Cuthbert’s idleness, he seeks him out—and in the darkness, finds him brutally murdered.
Summoned from London to the isolated monastery on the Yorkshire Moors, Aelred Barling, clerk to the King’s justices, and his messenger Hugo Stanton, set about investigating the horrific crime. They quickly discover that this is far from a quiet monastic house. Instead, it seethes with bitter feuds, rivalries and resentments. But no sooner do they arrive than the killer strikes again—and again.
When Barling discovers a pattern to these atrocities, it becomes apparent that the murderer’s rampage is far from over. With everyone, including the investigators, now fearing for their lives, can Barling and Stanton unmask the culprit before more blood is spilled?

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About the author:
E.M. Powell’s historical thriller Fifth Knight novels have been #1 Amazon and Bild bestsellers. The King’s Justice is the first novel in her new Stanton and Barling medieval murder mystery series. She is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers’ The Big Thrill magazine, blogs for English Historical Fiction Authors and is the social media manager for the Historical Novel Society.
Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she now lives in North-West England with her husband, daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog.
Find out more by visiting www.empowell.com. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

My Thoughts:
Early in the book there is a story about a bear being attacked by dogs. This was a source of entertainment for the townspeople: a bear being attacked by dogs in a pit. It’s not that I like this sort of thing, but it is an ingenious sub-story. This event gave me a perspective of that era. Their type of entertainment and sport was bear-baiting. This leads me to my first reason for liking this book: The Monastery Murders gave me a strong view of life in 1176 in North Yorkshire, England.
The mystery of the book is deaths that take place in a monastery. A monastery is not the sort of place where gruesome murders are committed. And, all of this begins at Christmas time. So, the opposite of what I’d expect in a murder case is turned upside down by the date and place. I like this unexpected aspect of the story.
Hugo Stanton and Aelred Barling are the two men who work together to solve the murders. Barling is a senior clerk in the court of King Henry. Stanton is a messenger with the law court. They’d solved a case several months ago (this must have been in book one.) Stanton is the pupil of Barling. Stanton is a younger and handsomer man. Stanton has charm and is a physical type man. Whereas, Barling is described as “pale skin” and “thin face.” Barling comes across to me as a brooding, secretive type man. Later in the story a personal mystery about Barling will be revealed that explained my suspicions.
I enjoyed reading The Monastery Murders, but was not swept up in the story as I’d liked, and this is why I gave the book a good rating.

 

(Review) Nothing Is Forgotten by Peter Golden

Nothing Is Forgotten

Publisher and Publication Date: Atria Books. April 10, 2018.
Genre: Historical Fiction.
Pages: 352.
Source: Complimentary hardcover copy from Peter Golden and Atria Books for this review. I was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Excellent.

Amazon

Peter Golden
Author Bio:
Peter Golden is an award-winning journalist, historian, and novelist who has written nine books and interviewed Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush (41); Secretaries of State Kissinger, Haig, Shultz, and Eagleburger; Israeli Prime Ministers Rabin, Peres, and Shamir; and Soviet President Gorbachev. His first novel, Comeback Love, was praised by the novelist and reviewer Caroline Leavitt as an “extraordinary debut.” Wherever There Is Light, his second novel, was featured in New York Magazine’s Fall Preview issue, widely reviewed, and selected by the New Jersey Star-Ledger as one of the best books of 2016. His third novel, Nothing Is Forgotten, which explores the connection between the Holocaust and the Cold War, will be published on April 10, 2018.
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Summary:
Late 1950s. South Orange, New Jersey.
Michael Daniels is a recent graduate from high school. He is the “Mad Russian” for a radio station. His satire and music is popular in New Jersey and across the ocean to USSR. His Russian-Jewish grandmother who runs the family candy store is found murdered. Michael can’t understand how his beloved grandmother could die in this horrific act. A chance to travel to Europe, and in working to solve the mystery of his grandmother, Michael finds out his grandmother had been preserving another life.

My Thoughts:

What I love about this story:
1. Michael’s sharp sarcasm and voice. Reminds me of his age, era, and the place where he lived.
2. Michael is an intelligent fellow. He is not a nerd. He does not come across as a know-it- all. He is fluent in several languages. He is street smart. He is observant of his surroundings and the people.
3. Peter Golden is simply a great storyteller. I think this is a great book to hear on audio.
4. I loved reading about how the family came to America; and later the circumstances not known in the beginning of the book.
5. History is weaved into the book. For example: John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
6. I love the time period. It is just before the Beatles. It is before America became involved in the Vietnam War. It is before Nixon and Watergate. Rock n Roll is in its infant stages. The fear and angst of communism is shown in the time period.
7. Yulianna Kosoy is a character who lives in USSR. I like her. She is a savvy person. She is a remarkable person. At her introduction, I felt she showed a “whatever” attitude towards certain activities. I believe this is apart of her persona of living life on the edge.
8. I love the unique career of Michael. I’ve not read another story where the character is a jockey of a radio station. Actually, he is the lone operator.
9. I love pulling the history of World War II, Holocaust, post war, communism, spying, espionage, romance, family saga, CIA, mystery, travel, art, and early 1960s culture into one book.
10. The story has a solid finish.