The Darkness - Ragnar Jónasson

If you’ve read this author’s Dark Iceland series, take note. This has a decidedly darker, moodier tone with a completely different MC.

 

DI Hulda Hermannsdóttir has been dreading retirement but thought she had some time to get used to the idea. That changes when her boss announces he is replacing her with a shiny, young “high achiever”. In 2 weeks. She has a couple of choices. She can leave immediately or use her remaining time to take a fresh look at a cold case. The thought of endless days alone in her tiny flat holds no appeal so Hulda quickly picks up a shelved investigation into the death of a young Russian woman.

 

In alternate chapters, we follow a young woman who gives birth to a daughter in 1948. Shamed by her family, she has no choice but to temporarily relinquish custody while she struggles to build a life for herself. The story of her relationship with her daughter gradually unfolds to reveal its link to the present.

 

This is a quick, easy read with an interesting MC. There are not many 65 year old female detectives out there & I enjoyed the perspective her maturity & life experience brought to the story. She also has a potential love interest after being widowed for many years.  With retirement looming, Hulda spends time reflecting on her life & we learn about her marriage & early years as a cop. That’s how her secret is revealed. And it’s a whopper.

 

Make no mistake, Hulda is not the fuzzy grandmotherly type. When she joined the force, women were scarce & despite her high clearance rate, she watched one man after another get the promotions she deserved.  It’s left a bitter taste in her mouth & the ageism that’s developed in recent years hasn’t helped.

 

The cold case heads off in directions no one could have predicted & Hulda meets her fair share of dodgy characters. I was clipping along wondering how it would all play out & thinking this was a solid 3 star read. Then I reached the end. Wait…what? Well, that was not on my radar. So I added points for taking the road less travelled. It was an unexpected & risky finish for book #1 in a series.