Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

I've given the other books I this series four stars, but this barely garnered a three. Why? Yes, I still love the atmosphere, the darkness, the coldness, so pervasive. Such an enclosing air. Yes, I also still like Ari Thor, though I this one he shares star billing with Isrun, a journalist who has her own issues. My problem was with the many different stories, threads,  happening at the same time, made it hard to concentrate on any one. Broke up the narrative with the constant changing of focus. There were also a few subplots that were resolved with nary a blink. One, the quarantine, I couldn't even feel like it was a necessary inclusion, it served imo, little purpose. 

I did like the past story that was being looked into, and that brought my rating up to a three. Mostly though, I felt this was too rushed and too many items were put into the pot. Didn't stir up well.
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The mark of an excellent writer is how the reader responds to the story and backstory. This one made me feel cold and cramped and dark right along with the characters.  I've lived in an area where the cold and dark can make people respond out of character to everyday actions and instances.  Its an eerie feeling to see someone so affected.  Ragnar Jonasson has captured the seasonal darkness so well that its almost as if you were there.
A small community is not only affected by the cold and dark but is under quarantine too.  This adds another layer to an already dark setting.  A detective with nothing better to do starts investigating a cold case.  As his investigation progresses, he finds other crimes that while not connected at first, seem to fall into line with the cold case as he moves further into history.  
I've read a few of Ragnar Jonasson's books and always enjoyed them.  He does not disappoint in this one.
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Another fine entry in a solid series, although the cold case aspect was an odd choice for an Ari Thór investigation. The quarantine of modern Siglufjörður due to a virus added to the 50-year-old investigation really emphasizes the remoteness of the peninsula and makes for a quiet, atmospheric read. Part of me is sad that I only have one more book to go in this series, but as much as I like Ari Thór, I really fell for Hulda and am looking forward to Ragnar writing more about her now!
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This series continues to evolve, the characters and locale coming into their own. I find this a perfect read for a cold winter's night by the fire! Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.
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While this series started to come out in Jonasson’s native Iceland in 2015, the books have only now started to make their way stateside, via the UK.  Rupture, which Jonasson wrote in 2016, will be published here in January, is the third in his “Dark Iceland” series which began with the sensational Snowblind. Let me tell you, whatever publishing path this author took to get here is definitely worth the wait, as he is a phenomenal writer.

While I would classify this series as a “traditional detective” series, mostly because of the plot structure, it also has the feel of a contemporary noir.  Jonasson embraces both of these strong  threads in mysteries equally, and with equal aplomb.  His main character is Ari Thor, who began the series as a new detective in tiny Siglufjorour.  

In the first novel, he was gripped by claustrophobia – Siglufjorour, in northern Iceland, is ringed by mountains, and experiences roughly 8 ½ months of winter.  In the course of the novels Ari Thor has adjusted to his new home and  he experiences a different kind of claustrophobia in this novel, one brought on by a quarantine.  Because of a rapidly spreading disease every shop and business is closed and no one is one the streets.  

Thanks to the enforced isolation Ari Thor begins to look into a long ago case of a suspected suicide by poison in the incredibly remote fjord encampment – it can’t be called a village – of Hedinsfjorour.  In 1955, two couples decided to strike out there, and a baby was even born, but one of the women was undone by the darkness and isolation and drank rat poison.

The first rupture.  The second involves a man whose wife was brutally assaulted in their home and died two years later, never coming out of a coma.  Third rupture.  Robert and Sunna, who share a home with Sunna’s baby, are sure someone is watching them, and then their baby is kidnapped.  Fourth rupture: recovered addict Snorri heads to a meeting in hopes of a much desired recording contract and is run over and killed.

I think what sets a truly excellent writer above a writer who is merely (though I don’t think it’s a small feat) telling a compelling story, is the addition of a theme.  This novel takes a look at what an individual breaking point might involve.  Jonasson is so excellent because on top of this story structure and thoughtful theme, he also writes true detective novels in the most traditional sense.  In golden age style, the cases often involve very few suspects, and it’s only a turn of focus and perception that brings clarity and a solution.

The writing is also knockout, as Jonasson really creates an atmosphere of dark, cold, and endless snowfall, completing the whole package and making him a real standout, an author well worth reading.  If you’re a fan of Ann Cleeves’ bleak but excellent Shetland series, you’ll love this series as well.
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Intrigue stalks!

All seems tangential and disconnected but as the threads are teased out in Rupture small strands lead to larger surmises.
Isolated incidents seem just that:
A long dead woman, presumably a suicide, living by a remote fjord of Hedinsfjorour.
A photo surfacing showing an unknown youth with the dead woman and the others living there
A hit and run accident
A kidnapped child
What might they or might they not have in common?
Ari Thór has time on his hands when Siglufjorour is quarantined due to a deadly virus outbreak. A request to look into a 1955 suicide gives Ari something to do, an investigation that catches his interest and his imagination.
Reporter Ísrún from Reykjavik is juggling the thought of a serious illness, her parents separation and now three newsworthy items drop into her Investigative journalist's lap.
When Ari and Ísrún connect to pursue their threads, things become interesting.
Rupture, a fitting title as lives are indeed ruptured when facts and conjecture unfold, reminding us of the old adage of "six degrees of separation".
Chronologically taking place before Nightblind, Rupture fills in the gaps of Ari and Kristin's relationship.
Again a brooding, atmospheric piece of writing from Jonasson. 

A St. Martins Press  ARC via NetGalley
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RUPTURE: An Ari Thor Thriller
Ragnar Jonasson; translated by Quentin Bates
Minotaur Books
ISBN 978-1-250-19335-3
Trade Paperback

January is the perfect month to welcome a new Ari Thor book to the shelf. RUPTURE, the fourth of the Thor books to be published in the United States, continues author Ragnar Jonasson’s pattern of combining traditional mystery elements and some unexpected twists with sharp, quirky characterization, with the entirety highlighted by the exotic and frigid geographical backdrop of Iceland.

Ari Thor, for the uninitiated, is one of a two-man police department tasked with policing a small Icelandic community outside of the larger and better known Reykjavik. Jonasson (assisted by the always fine translation of Quentin Bates) creates and maintains an air of deep melancholy that threads the books in the series together. Thor’s personal life is as much of an element of the books in general and RUPTURE in particular as the mysteries. In RUPTURE he has reestablished a romantic relationship with Kristin,  a doctor in Reykjavik, even as he faces (and sweats) the possibility that he might have fathered a child with another woman during a short-term assignation while he and Kristin were apart. At the same time, the tiny village is under quarantine as the result of exposure to a deadly infectious disease from a visiting tourist. In the midst of all of this Thor is asked to investigate the death of a woman which occurred a half-century before in an isolated, all-but-deserted village adjacent to his jurisdiction. The death was originally ruled an accident --- death by ingestion of rat poison --- but was thought to have been a suicide. Thor has little to go on but a picture, at least initially. He follows that breadcrumb into a situation long undisturbed but still disturbing, and uncovers a secret --- with a vital clue uncovered by Kristin --- which ultimately provides a dark, almost certain answer to the query, even if it is far too late for any justice to be done. Thor’s presentation of his findings and conclusion are worthy of an Agatha Christie novel in all of the best ways. Thor, however, is by no means the only protagonist in RUPTURE. A reporter who is investigating a child kidnapping unearths a crime of a different sort while doing research on her story, and also finds time to aid Thor in his own investigation. 

Thor for his part is quietly relentless, and while he may not be the sharpest hook in the fishing kit he is certainly adept at putting the facts together and coming up with a reasonable conclusion, even with a case involving principals who have passed on long before. I hesitate to use the term “charming,” but it applied in some ways. In other ways, however, Iceland makes for a unique setting, one in which the beautiful but foreboding elements of life on the edge make for an interesting and edgy contrast which influence the psychological elements presented in RUPTURE. The conclusion to the book indicates that Thor’s life is about to become more interesting, and Jonasson’s ever-growing body of readers will no doubt be aboard for the next installment. Recommended. 

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
© Copyright 2019, The Book Report, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Rupture is my first read about Icelandic mystery. The atmospheric presence of the place is awesome. That's my favorite part of the story. It's well written and full of twists and turns to keep your interest. Fans of the author will enjoy this one. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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"Rupture," by Ragnar Jónasson, translated capably from the Icelandic by Quentin Bates, has a multi-faceted plot. The author follows the fortunes of Róbert who, although he is living happily with his girlfriend, Sunna, is plagued by terrifying nightmares.  In addition, Hédinn is a fifty-four-year-old man who has unanswered questions about events that occurred more than half a century earlier, around the time of his birth. He asks Ari Thór Arason, a police officer based in Siglufjörour, to find out what led to the tragic death of a member of Hédinn's family.  Because there is a quarantine in force thanks to an infectious disease that has taken several lives, Ari Thór's schedule is light, and he agrees to help Hédinn.

Two additional inquiries involve a hit and run and the abduction of a small child.  Ari Thór is assisted by Ísrún, a talented television news reporter based in Reykavík.  She is a responsible journalist but can be relentless when she gets wind of a juicy story.  Ísrún's hard work and Ari Thór's tireless digging eventually bear fruit.  In Jónasson's unforgiving world, transgressions have a way of coming come back to haunt people who believe that they have escaped justice.  Initially, we are faced with so many narrative threads that it difficult to keep them straight in our minds.  Gradually, however, patterns emerge, and we begin to realize that seemingly unrelated incidents are somehow connected.  

Reading the books in this series out of order (for some reason, they are not released chronologically) can be bewildering, but it is possible to enjoy this novel as a stand-alone.  Ísrún, whom we have seen before, is a bright and ambitious professional who has a serious problem that she tries to ignore but, if it worsens, could derail her career.  Ari Thór can be impulsive and volatile at times, but he is on his best behavior here, with one glaring exception.  He proudly reveals a theory to Hédinn that throws the poor man for a loop.  Is it ethical to inflict an emotional wound on a blameless individual that might haunt him for the rest of his life?  "Rupture" is a fitting title that can apply to fractured relationships; frayed moral values; and the cracks that appear in a person, family, or society because of actions fueled by greed, a thirst for power, arrogance, and the failure to shoulder responsibility for one's misdeeds.  This is a suspenseful, splendidly descriptive, atmospheric, and evocative work of fiction by a consummate storyteller. Ragnar Jónasson proves once again that he is a master of Icelandic noir.
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An Interesting Set of Storylines Woven Into An Intriguing Novel

The novel opens with Róbert discovering that someone had been in his home while he was with his girlfriend in their bedroom. Thinking that he had left the backdoor unlocked, he decides not to tell his girlfriend, Sunna, so as not to upset her about her and her son’s safety. Sunna is in the middle of a custody battle with the son’s father. Events soon go south. This is only one of the main storylines with which the novel opens. Snorri, whose drug and alcohol problems had robbed his father’s dream of being the Prime Minister, finally has a chance to make a significant advance in his musical career. There is Emil who wants vengeance because his wife just died from a vicious attach in their home two years earlier. A tourist is hospitalized in Siglufjördur and dies of hemorrhagic fever that quarantines the entire town. Lastly, there is Hédinn who askes Ari Thór to look into the death of his aunt who reportedly drank poison accidently 50 years earlier. The author takes this diverse set of events and weaves them into a very intriguing novel. It soon captured my interest and couldn’t wait to continue reading.

One of the reasons that I really liked this novel was the extraordinary rich B-storylines. Tómas, the town’s police force’s senior officer, has a significant decision to make. Ari Thór has an opening to reignite his relationship with his girlfriend, but a serious issue looms on the horizon that could jeopardize this relationship. Lastly, there is a surprisingly rich B-storyline on Ísrún, the news reporter in Reykjavík. The author reveals much about her relationship with both of her parents who currently are estranged, her health, and office politics within her newsroom. All of these are interwoven into the main storylines so that both are enriched and increase enjoyment in reading.

I could not find a single instance of vulgar language. There were not any sex scenes, just a few before-and-afters. No one will have any issues with this novel on these two counts. The translator was British. Previous novels have used some British idioms which to me was strange for a novel set in Iceland. I remember only one instance in this novel. I did use the Internet capability of my Kindle to look up some of the locations.

It should be obvious that I did enjoy reading this novel with its unique set of storylines. Another thing that I found interesting was that there was a pronunciation guide before the start of the novel. Ever since the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, I knew that my American tongue has a definite problem with Icelandic names. I liked this feature, and, yes, I had been mispronouncing many of the names! I do have one warning. Because there are many main storylines at the start and the interaction between Ari and Ísrún, the start was a little slow as I tried to get a handle on all of these storylines and how they related. The sinking of this novel’s hooks into my interest took a little longer, but they did set. I just do not want you, the reader, to give up early, as you will miss a good read.

Overall, this novel achieved every criterion I have for a high star rating. By the end of the novel there were not any loose ends. The slightly slow start lowered my rating to 4½ stars, but that is not allowed. Since otherwise I did enjoy reading the novel, I rounded up to 5 stars rating. I do not see any dependence on the previous books in this series, and I do recommend reading Rupture even if it is your first read from this series. As another testament to the quality of this author’s novels, I purchased one novel to fill in one of the gaps in his series and probably purchase more in the future.

I have received a free kindle version of this novel through NetGalley from St. Martin's Press with a request for an honest, unbiased review. I wish to thank St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this novel early.
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Excellent mystery with lots of twists and turns to keep me in suspense! I never felt like I really got to know As I but the other characters were all well written I felt I understood them, maybe next time for Ari?! Thanks to #Netgalkey for this story!
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This is the third book that I have read by this author, and I am loving this series.  I am a big fan of Nordic Noir, Ragnar Jonasson, and Ari Thor et al.  The author’s wonderful descriptions of locations in Iceland is an integral part of the storylines and created the atmosphere.  I can’t wait to read more from this author!  Thank you and please keep translating!
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Rupture doesn't disappoint.  Another highly intense book by this author.  Compelling and keeps you guessing.
I love this author.
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Another Ari Thor book and boy do I love them. With each book you get updated on the current (and sometimes past) stage of his and other's lives. Along with that you get a great mystery or two or three. 

I can't say enough about Ragnar's writing. He is truly one of the great ones and all his books should come to life in movies.
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A seemingly close-knit family moves to a remote location in Iceland. Fifty years later the man who was born to one of the couples wants to know more about his Aunt’s death.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance reader copy. I've read one other book in this series and really liked it. I must admit it took me a awhile to get into the "story" of this read. There is a good mystery to be told, it is just done in a less intense manner than what I thought. There are a lot of different story lines going on at once which got a bit confusing at times. All the pieces tied up in the end. What I really liked about Rupture is that since it's a series, the main characters really have a chance to be fleshed out. The character development of both the main and secondary characters was well done.
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i like the way Ragnar Jónasson talks and put things together. He makes it seem difficult when Ari Thór does something that a normal person doesn't do, but then when his mind is on the right track it seems there is some wisdom finding a way to come out. Hédinn's family fiasco is a telling example of how well Ari Thór finds out information and puts it all together and it makes sense. While waiting for Ari Thór's information Ísrún's world seem to come together with her health and then in her scrambling for a new position at the paper. Kristín also made a leap with Ari Thór and you can read about it yourself. This is a very good book that follows in a semblance of order and I gave it 4 stars out of 5.
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I love the dark Icelandic series!  Jonasson’s characters and sense of place is right up there with CJ Box and Louise Penney. I am happy to recommend this series to my customers. Jonasson is at the top of his game.
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I love this Icelandic mystery series and wish the whole set was translated into English quicker.
Three cases dominate this storyline with one being as cold as the surrounding landscape. How they intersect and the secrets behind them will keep you enthralled. Although a little slow in the beginning don’t let that stop you. This is a good one.

This book is set to be published in January, 2019.
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