Cover Image: Outside

Outside

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Member Reviews

"When a deadly snowstorm strikes the Icelandic highlands, four friends seek shelter in a small, abandoned hunting lodge. It is in the middle of nowhere and there's no way of communicating with the outside world..
There is nothing around but they are supposably not alone,  As it begins to get dark 
their fear grows stronger,  an old tragedy gradually surfaces, one that forever affects their friendship.
Those dark memories could hold the key to the mystery the friends now find themselves in..
What will happen to these friends will they survive ? Will they still be friends?
New author to me, book started off little slow but then it started to get good. Will read another one of this authors work. 
Thanks to netgalley, minotaur books and the author in honest exchange for a review. 
Published June 28, 2022.
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There is no accounting for what people will do. 
“Outside” by Ragnar Jónasson sends readers into the cold, the isolation, and the danger of Iceland where even the brightest days might prove hazardous for those who do not show respect for conditions so close to the Arctic Circle.  The drama begins on a mind-numbingly cold November night. 
The story goes back in time with alternating narratives so readers learn how these friends got to this miserable, frightening, cold place. Readers get to know each person both individually and as part of the group; their backgrounds; their personalities; and their secrets.  There is no stronger bond than a shared secret.
This is a reunion trip -- friends, food, and a foray on to the moors, a world away from the urban sprawl of Reykjavík. It is to be an adventure in nature’s merciless elements. Every detail has been carefully planned, perhaps too carefully. 
The storm begins; no one is coming to rescue them, but they all believe that it will be fine in the end. They have no choice but to stop somewhere and wait it out. The refuge cabin should have provided a sanctuary, but it did not.  Inside the emergency shelter, they found something unexpected and shocking. 
“Outside” is filled jaw-dropping surprises. Questions hang in the frozen air. The letters? The gun? This stranger? Had they caused this?  Had nothing happened by chance? Had it always been meant to end this way? 
I received a review copy of “Outside” from Ragnar Jónasson, Victoria Cribb, translator, St. Martin's Press, and Minotaur Books. It is strangely creepy, exceedingly bizarre, and exceptionally compelling. The chain of events is complex and diverse, but the motive is simple and uncomplicated. 
“Outside” by Ragnar Jónasson is now available in print, as an e-book, and on audio from independent bookstores, online booksellers, retail stores, public libraries and anywhere you get your books.
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"Four friends. One night. Not everyone will come out alive..." In this Nordic noir suspense novel, Ragnar Jonasson brings us to Iceland where four friends plan a hunting trip. They don't normally hunt but decide to do something different and go on this amazing expedition. Until a major blizzard decides to ruin those plans, and they trek into an old, abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere. Once there, they discover they are not alone. I like the atmosphere of this story. For whatever reason, I am always drawn to stories that take place in snowstorms and extreme weather. However, the story itself somewhat felt a little flat to me. I'm not sure what it was but it wasn't what I thought.
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Gosh, this one just wasn't for me! I thought I would give the Nordic theme a try, and while it did give me an isolating feeling/atmosphere, I just didn't connect to the characters. I found myself putting this down, and not wanting to pick it back up to finish. Sorry to say that I did not enjoy this one.
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Real Rating: 3.5* of five, rounded down because I have low ambiguity tolerance in this case

Short, intense, and darkly atmospheric novella by one of Iceland's most valuable exports.

This honestly feels like a climactic scene from a longer novel that Ragnar didn't think was working, but it was just too darn good to let go to waste. We join the dramatis personae in medias res, we experience the building tension of a climax, and then...that was it...? Abrupt ending that doesn't do a lot of explaining, at least to me. It makes the whole exercise of reading the book just a bit frustrating to invest in the idea of this kind of pressure-cooker plot and then...stop.

I think everyone over 21 knows that we're defined by our worst moments, our biggest lapses of judgment. (If there are kids in your life, you *really* know this!) And we all know there are people in our lives whose place is more theirs by habit than by any desire on your, often nor their, part. People change and when we're young we think that won't matter. It's only as the weight of coping with our own lives becomes more and more demanding that we realize the weight of carrying someone whose place in our life is no longer a good investment of our energy.

The problem for me, in reading this chilling short take, is that these emotions are so common to all adults that to see them turned into a justification for chillingly, cruelly premeditated murder is asking me to go a bit farther than I'm generally prepared to go. The murderer in this piece is so coldly obsessed with a terrible event that no other thing can be allowed to enter their mental sphere.

Sociopaths aren't delightful company, and the ugliness of the murderer's interior is too much the focus of the story for me to get anything I wanted in the way of understanding out of the read. I left as revolted as I entered, and that's not a good result for me.
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DNF at 31% 
This was just not a book for me. I couldn’t connect with the characters and the story was confusing and rushed. It was not what I expected from the description. Disappointing. 

Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books and the author for ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Ragnar Jonasson’s writing is absolutely incredible and spine-tingling! I was gripped the whole read through by the atmosphere in this story, which helped immerse me and make me feel like I was right next to the characters. This story was full of twists and thrills. Highly recommend!
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I literally did not want to put this book down! It was good. It kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to keep reading. I love that this is one suspense book that I could not figure out at the beginning like others I've read. If you're looking for a good, quick read, this will not disappoint!
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Has a claustrophobic feel, a sense of unease prevails. While these characters are not particularly likable, they do serve to draw one into the story. The writing is stark and fits and adds to the feel of constant danger. While I didn't like this as much as this authors series novels, it was still an appealing read if one is a fan of Nordic noir.
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I love this book takes place in Iceland!  The idea of getting caught in a horrible snowstorm with friends looking for shelter is terrifying.
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Outside tells a story of four old friends (really it appears only three of them are REALLY friends at this point) who are getting together in Iceland to hunt in winter off in an isolated area.  One of the four is a tour guide and takes charge of the adventure.  One is a woman. We learn early her boyfriend dies sometime ago and that she has never gotten over this.  He was part of the group.  One is a lawyer who is rather odd and unlikeable.  And one is our narrator much of the time, but not all the time.  While it is hard to discuss the story without spoilers, there are obvious tensions within the group.  The lawyer had engaged in very improper behavior known to all and he has a crush on the woman.  They are not a cohesive group.  We see each one's perspective as the story evolves and have to question what we really know about any of them.  This has tense moments, and gallops along to a surprise conclusion, but it was largely boring, morose and a disappointment, as I often read Jonasson and like his work.
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Not as enjoyable as Johansson's Island trilogy but a creepy, atmospheric Islandoc Noir book. I liked the closed room setting and small cast of characters 👏🏼
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I do not like giving poor reviews but there just isn’t much I can recommend about this book. It’s short and fast paced, so it has that in its favor. Four “friends” go on a hunting trip in a remote part of Iceland. The book shifts POVs constantly, and it quickly is clear that there is a lot of hatred between these people. And, they are all unsympathetic, icky characters. With no one to root for, the whole experience of reading the book just comes down to figuring out the mystery. I will say I did not figure it out, but that’s really just because it wasn’t very compelling or well done. The book just sort of ends after a few hasty reveals. I actually wondered if I got an unfinished ARC. I just did not like this. Thank you for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Entertaining and quick, this is a recommended purchase for collections where thrillers and Nordic noir are popular.
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An interesting setup and a surprising ending make this a real page-turner. With four different voices, it was never clear who the real villain was. Though, truthfully, I didn’t like any of them. It wasn’t clear until the end what the real mystery was, and the book came together a little too quickly.
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A master of claustrophobic reads! 
No other author could keep me turning pages despite not knowing what was happening, a ton about the plot and going in cold - figurative and literary wise. The premise revolves around 4 friends who go on a hunting trip I a remote and isolated part of Iceland.  But not all 4 come back.  The nuances were subtle and readers had to find their bearings in the dark and cold much like the characters. Some might not find this book their cup of tea but I loved it.
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@netgalley ⒶⓇⒸ ⓇⒺⓋⒾⒺⓌ

Thank you @netgalley & for gifting me the E-ARC of “Outside” for an unbiased review.

𝑶𝒖𝒕𝒔𝒊𝒅𝒆
𝙱𝚢: Ragnar Jónasson
𝙶𝚎𝚗𝚛𝚎: Mystery, Thriller
𝙿𝚞𝚋𝚕𝚒𝚜𝚑𝚎𝚛: @minotaurbooks
𝙿𝚞𝚋𝚕𝚒𝚜𝚑𝚎𝚍 𝙾𝚗: June 28th 2022
@𝚐𝚘𝚘𝚍𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚍𝚜 𝚂𝚌𝚘𝚛𝚎: 3.09
𝙼𝚢 𝚂𝚌𝚘𝚛𝚎: ❄️❄️ / 5 Snowflakes

ⓈⓎⓃⓄⓅⓈⒾⓈ

𝑭𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒇𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒔. 𝑶𝒏𝒆 𝒏𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕. 𝑵𝒐𝒕 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒗𝒆 . . .

When a deadly snowstorm strikes the Icelandic highlands, four friends seek shelter in a small, abandoned hunting lodge.

It is in the middle of nowhere and there's no way of communicating with the outside world.

𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒔𝒐𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒅, 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆 . . .

As the night darkens, and fears intensify, an old tragedy gradually surfaces - one that forever changed the course of their friendship.

Those dark memories could hold the key to the mystery the friends now find themselves in.

𝑨𝒏𝒅 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒗𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒖𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒍 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 . . .

ⓂⓎ ⓉⒽⓄⓊⒼⒽⓉⓈ

Sounds like a pretty good synopsis, right?

This book was my first by this author and sadly I was disappointed. There was a lot of build up at the beginning but as I kept reading, I realized that nothing dramatic was happening.

This book is showcased as a murder mystery but it also is about revenge. While reading along the only positive things were the short chapters, multiple POV’s and the translation was okay. I didn’t like any of the characters & couldn’t connect with them.

When the revealing of the plot of the story came to be I had one of those moments where I was like "That’s it?" The explanations given were a little mediocre, no real closure at the end either, it just sort of ended and that was that. All in all, it was very "meh" story.
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@netgalley ⒶⓇⒸ ⓇⒺⓋⒾⒺⓌ

Thank you @netgalley &    for gifting me the E-ARC of “Outside” for an unbiased review. 

𝑶𝒖𝒕𝒔𝒊𝒅𝒆
𝙱𝚢: Ragnar Jónasson
𝙶𝚎𝚗𝚛𝚎: Mystery, Thriller 
𝙿𝚞𝚋𝚕𝚒𝚜𝚑𝚎𝚛: @minotaurbooks
𝙿𝚞𝚋𝚕𝚒𝚜𝚑𝚎𝚍 𝙾𝚗: June 28th 2022
@𝚐𝚘𝚘𝚍𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚍𝚜 𝚂𝚌𝚘𝚛𝚎: 3.09 
𝙼𝚢 𝚂𝚌𝚘𝚛𝚎: ❄️❄️ / 5 Snowflakes

ⓈⓎⓃⓄⓅⓈⒾⓈ

𝑭𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒇𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒔. 𝑶𝒏𝒆 𝒏𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕. 𝑵𝒐𝒕 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒗𝒆 . . .

When a deadly snowstorm strikes the Icelandic highlands, four friends seek shelter in a small, abandoned hunting lodge.

It is in the middle of nowhere and there's no way of communicating with the outside world.

𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒔𝒐𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒅, 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆 . . .

As the night darkens, and fears intensify, an old tragedy gradually surfaces - one that forever changed the course of their friendship.

Those dark memories could hold the key to the mystery the friends now find themselves in.

𝑨𝒏𝒅 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒗𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒖𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒍 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 . . .

ⓂⓎ ⓉⒽⓄⓊⒼⒽⓉⓈ

Sounds like a pretty good synopsis, right? 

This book was my first by this author and sadly I was disappointed. There was a lot of build up at the beginning but as I kept reading, I realized that nothing dramatic was happening. 

This book is showcased as a murder mystery but it also is about revenge. While reading along the only positive things were the short chapters,  multiple POV’s and the translation was okay. I didn’t like any of the characters & couldn’t connect with them. 

When the revealing of the plot of the story came to be I had one of those moments where I was like "That’s it?" The explanations given were a little mediocre, no real closure at the end either, it just sort of ended and that was that. All in all, it was very "meh" story.
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A pretty good atmospheric thriller. 4 former college friends going on a hike in the cold Icelandic wilderness. When the weather turns, they escape to a hiking hut and discover they are not alone. The other person in the hut is not really the main mystery/thriller. Turns out the former friends have a lot of secrets and grudges they are harboring against each other. Only three stars because it ended so abruptly and without any satisfying conclusion.
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Thanks to Netgalley, Minotaur books and Ragnar Jonasson for this ARC.  This was such an interesting book, I have been to Iceland so I could picture these characters and scenes in my head… I thought this book was very realistic at first, 4 friends on an adventurous weekend, but I then realized later in the book, it was not an ordinary adventure.. loved it! The mystery involved throughout was one I never saw coming and so many mysteries really. I read Icelandic authors and this author is now by far my favorite.. a great book club discussion book as well…can’t wait to read more by this author. 5 stars 
Reviews seen on Amazon, Twitter, Goodreads, on line book clubs ..
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