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.
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.
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.
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