It’s winter. Don’t go out. It’s disgusting out there. Turn up the radiators and read one of these.
Snare – Lilja Sigurðardóttir
Sonja’s life is in tatters. Losing custody of her son after her husband catches her in bed with a woman, Sonja makes desperate attempts to get him, driving her to some dark places. Soon, she is smuggling drugs through Keflavík Airport, collaborating with vicious thugs who have no intention of freeing her until she’s outlived her usefulness. There’s little help to be had from her unstable lover Agla, who has retreated to the bottom of a bottle, as well as the impending investigation that’s set to reveal her role in destabilising the Icelandic economy. However, when Sonja’s frequent trips through the airport catch the attention of customs officer Bragi, who has little left to live for except his job and visits to his Alzheimer’s-demented wife, a dangerous game is set off, in which Sonja is forced to let the chips fall where they may to save those dearest to her. Set during the post-crash years, Lilja’s first book to appear in English is a layered crime thriller filled with deeply conflicted characters.
Whiteout – Ragnar Jónasson
When Ásta returns to Kálfhamarsvík, a remote settlement in the north of Iceland, none of the few remaining inhabitants know quite what to make of her arrival. Why would she come back to the place where her mother and sister met their tragic demise twenty five years earlier? When her body is found on the same rocks as those of her mother and sister all that time ago, most assume that the return was too much for Ásta. However, a local policeman investigating her death is reminded of many things that he found unsettling about the previous tragedies, and so he asks for assistance from an old colleague: Ari Thor, the Siglufjörður policeman from Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series. The isolated settlements on Iceland’s northern coast, filled with tight-lipped inhabitants who safeguard each other’s secrets, provide the perfect setting for Ragnar’s unique fusion of Nordic Noir and traditional British murder mystery.
Read more about Icelandic literature here.