I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Outside by Ragnar Jónasson
Published by Penguin on 28 April 2022
Genres: Survival, Crime, Mystery, Friendship, Relationships, Iceland
Pages: 293
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
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In a deadly Icelandic snowstorm, four friends seek shelter in an abandoned hunting lodge.

But nothing can prepare them for what's inside.

Forced to spend a long and terrifying night in the cabin, they watch intently and silently.

Just as they themselves are being watched.

As the night darkens, and old secrets spill into the light, it's soon clear that what they've discovered in the cabin is far from the only mystery lurking there.

Nor the only thing to be afraid of . . .

Outside piqued my interest for its devastating atmosphere. Iceland has always intrigued me, with its brutal and raw landscape and its beautiful but deadly mountainscapes it’s the perfect backdrop for a survival thriller. It’s a place I have longed to visit to photograph the Northern Lights in all their glory, so I enjoy reading about the country and its heart-breaking imagery. Ragnar Jónasson is a new author to me, and I look forward to discovering more of his stories.

Four friends head out to the Icelandic Highlands for a weekend’s hunting trip. It’s a reunion of sorts, with the friends not having been together as a foursome for quite some time. Some shooting, a little alcohol (for some), and good conversation are on the agenda. The hike is gruelling and when they finally reach the lodge there is a problem – it’s locked, and the keys are in a box, and they don’t know the code. The weather is closing in, and they must decide fast – break a window and most definitely spend the night exposed to the harsh conditions or wrestle the key safe open. There’s only one choice considering they have no sleeping bags to keep them warm.

Outside is a quick read and the pace ticks away like a bomb threatening to explode. I was instantly engrossed and found myself getting through the story rather quickly.

Four college friends – Armann, Daniel, Helena, and Gunnlauger now have a deadly snowstorm enclosing them in BUT, there is a far larger threat in the cabin with them. The story is told in multi-POV, and the reader is given insight into how each is feeling about the other. Armann is a highly successful tour operator, taking clients into the Icelandic Highlands and showing them the magnificent sights. He’s brash and arrogant with it, detailing his success with no amount of modesty. He has a chequered past though and no one has forgotten about it.

Daniel now permanently stays in London as a successful struggling actor. He has a girlfriend who he is determined to make a go of things with but if he was to admit the truth to himself, he was hesitant to come on this weekend. Things have moved on and he’d forgotten just how desolate the highlands are.

Helena has had her fair share of loss, her partner died recently, and she has struggled to come to terms with living life without him. Unfortunately, she just wasn’t a character I could relate to, and I found her mannerisms very brash and rude.

Gunnlauger is a practicing lawyer. I’m going, to be honest and describe him as a bit of a wet blanket. He’s also a dark horse that seems to struggle to contain his dark side. Past events are catching up to him…and why does that bottle of alcohol seem to be calling his name?

Outside was a quick and enjoyable read with the atmosphere meeting the tension in a battle to the death.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image 4 - REVIEW: Outside by Ragnar Jónasson

Ragnar Jonasson is the award winning author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series, the Hulda Trilogy and standalone crime fiction.

CBS Studios is to adapt The Darkness as an eight-part TV series.

The Times selected The Darkness as one of the 100 Best Crime Novels and Thrillers since 1945. Snowblind was selected as one of Top 100 Crime Fiction of all time by Blackwell’s.

Ragnar Jonasson