It’s 1988, many years before the events recounted in the first of the Hidden Iceland trilogy, The Darkness. A pair of teenagers have headed out to a remote summer house for a weekend of passion – but things don’t go quite the way they’d planned. Next thing, the girl’s father has been arrested and charged with the murder of his daughter.
We fast forward another ten years, and Hulda Hermannsdottir is in America, trying to track down her father. Her mother never told her who he was, but he was stationed in a US base in Iceland and she has a first name.
Meanwhile, back in Iceland, the friends of the girl who’d died ten years earlier have gathered together to celebrate her – this time on a remote island. Again, things don’t quite go as planned.
It’s into this mess that Hulda returns from America, looking to work out whether a new death was an accident or murder. And how are two events related?
It’s not uncommon in crime novel series for the individual titles to be relatively standalone for new readers, but in this case, I’d strongly recommend going back to The Darkness and reading these titles in order.
We know from the earlier book that Hulda is someone who’s a bit of a loner, and feels as though her career is stagnating. Once more, it feels as though there’s been sloppy detective work – Jónasson does not portray the Icelandic police service in glowing light in these books. And as ever, there are lots of hidden things below the surface, brooding away.
What’s absolutely certain is that the story is another real page-turner, and the remote settings provide a distinct flavour. My only frustration is that we’ll need to wait until 2020 to learn the conclusion to this series!
Thanks to Penguin UK, Michael Joseph and Netgalley for the ARC. The Island is published in hardback on 4 April 2019.