Saturday, June 18, 2022


Outside by Ragnar Jónasson
6/28/22; 352 pages
St. Martin's Press

Outside by Ragnar Jónasson is a recommended psychological thriller set in Iceland.

Four friends, Daniel, Gunnlauger, Armann, and Helena are on a reunion vacation in the Icelandic highlands hunting for ptarmigan when a blizzard strikes while they are out, away from the hunting lodge. Armann, who leads tours of Iceland, knows there is a safety hut nearby where they can take shelter and wait out the storm. As the group face frostbite or worse getting to the hut, they finally find it. When they get inside, however, none of them are expecting what awaits them within.

In this Nordic noir thriller each chapter is narrated by one the four characters. As their individual points-of-view propel the plot forward, we are also privy to their inner thoughts and feelings about members of the group. They have been friends for many years so they have a history between them and know each other's flaws, however they may not know the secrets they hold.

The novel opens with the brutal trek through the blizzard to the shelter where we know something terrible and frightening is already inside. Then the narrative jumps back in time to the start of their vacation and the history of their friendship, allowing the tension and suspense to build while leading up to the hut, what is inside, and what happens next. The brutal, unforgiving weather adds a dimension to the tension in the plot.

I was engrossed in the story right up to almost the end at which point I had to suspend disbelief and the final, abrupt denouement left me cold and wanting.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Press via NetGalley.

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