ABOUT THE BOOK
‘TEACHER WANTED ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD . . .’
Una knows she is struggling to deal with her father’s sudden, tragic suicide. She spends her nights drinking alone in Reykjavik, stricken with thoughts that she might one day follow in his footsteps.
So when she sees an advert seeking a teacher for two girls in the tiny village of Skálar – population of ten – on the storm-battered north coast of the island, she sees it as a chance to escape.
But once she arrives, Una quickly realises nothing in city life has prepared her for this. The villagers are unfriendly. The weather is bleak. And, from the creaky attic bedroom of the old house where she’s living, she’s convinced she hears the ghostly sound of singing.
Una worries that she’s losing her mind.
And then, just before Christmas, there’s an unexplained death and Una’s life going from bad to worse . . .
This author is on top form and goes from strength to strength with every book he has written. Set in the 1980s, it sounded like the perfect retreat to go to and get paid for it. When Una sees an advertisement for a teacher in a remote location, she jumps at the chance. Skálar is home to only ten residents, and two of them are the children she would be teaching. Una is to lodge with one of the children’s mother, but there is something that feels very off and edgy, in the room she is given.
Una finds that the isolated town is cold in more ways than one as the Welcoming Committee is rather non-existent and even the two children are alien to each other. It’s the 1980’s with the only connection to the outside world being a landline and newspapers, with her entertainment consisting of VHS tapes that she has brought with her. It was going to be a long winter than the one she originally thought it would be.
The descriptions of Skálar are superb, making it visual, audible and chilling in every way possible. The setting perfection to enable personal sanity to be questioned and found wanting. Was Una going mad? She had come to the Island to find peace, not the isolation that she found herself in.
The unease grows and snowballs as the book progresses, but I never saw what was coming, well only the tip of the iceberg before it went into a complete and devastating meltdown of the past and present. It is a real heart gripper. I felt spent of all my emotions. I still can’t think about this story without feeling my heart sink. A story that stands out. Brilliant.
I wish to thank Net Galley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ragnar Jonasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture soon followed suit, hitting the number one spot in five countries, and the series being sold in 20 countries and for TV. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Ragnar is a member of the UK Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) and set up its first overseas chapter in Reykjavik. He is also the co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.