Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Island - Ragnar Jónasson


The Island
is Ragnar Jónasson’s second book in his Hulda Hermannsdottir trilogy, a trilogy  comprised of: The Darkness, The Island, and The Mist. Hulda is a detective in the Reykjavik Police department who, mostly because of her gender, still feels like a department outsider despite all her years on the force. Often, I would be pointing out about now that this second book in the series picks up right from where the first one left off, but the opposite is true of the Hulda series. Hulda’s life story is told in reverse, and that is a large part of what makes the three books so intriguing to those of us who love crime and thriller fiction so much. 


The Island begins with the recounting of a romantic trip taken by a two teens to the remote summer house belonging to the girl’s father. The two go to the house in October when it is already very cold, so the area is even more deserted than it normally is when they are there, meaning that the terrible thing that happens in the house will go unnoticed for several days. 


Next, we flash forward ten years to 1987 to find a group of friends getting together in a remote hunting lodge on an island off the coast of Iceland. The two young men and two young women had been best friends as teens, and they are hoping now to reconnect in some meaningful way. The problem is that one of them will not leave the island alive — and that they are the only four people there when the death happens. Cue one Hulda Hermannsdottir who is, as she  always is when investigating a crime, doggedly determined to find out what happened on that very first night the four young people were together. Then, after recognizing a potential link between the death in 1977 and the one in 1987 Hulda senses a way finally to get the credit that she deserves as a first-rate crime investigator.  And if what she discovers proves once and for all that one of her colleagues should never have been promoted over her head, so much the better. 


Bottom Line: The Island adds a considerable amount of detail to Hulda’s backstory, including what she learns, and doesn’t learn, about herself on a side trip she makes to America to connect with an aging World War II veteran. But the most fascinating thing here is how reading about Hulda’s life and aspirations while already knowing how everything turns out for her, enables the reader to know what it must feel like to be able to see into the future. So do keep in mind that in order to experience the Hulda series at its best, the three books most definitely need to be read (at least the first time around) in the order in which they were published. 


Ragnar Jónasson


6 comments:

  1. Okay...I've got to read this series!

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    1. Can't wait to see what you think of the first one in the series, Lark.

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  2. This series sounds amazing. I love the setting and what you had to say about it. I've never heard of it previously.

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    1. It's just such a rare approach to crime thriller fiction, Diane, that it took me completely by surprise. It's almost unique, I suspect...aat least in my experience.

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  3. It is such a treat for me to see someone enjoying this trilogy as much as I did.

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    1. I'm moving right on to the third book in the next day or two, Cathy. Can't wait to see how I feel about the whole story after finishing the final book.

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