There are not many thriller authors embodying the icy, chilly crime noir genre like Icelandic writer Ragnar Jónasson ... a haunting tale with prose as chilly as the Icelandic winter season in which it is set. Jónasson is an immensely gifted writer who brings even the smallest, most remote areas of his country to vivid life and creates a story that readers will not soon forget.
The mystery of what exactly is going on in Skálar will hook Jonasson’s readers as much as it does Una, and the author expertly builds intrigue and suspense with each passing page ... Known for his grittier Dark Iceland series of crime thrillers, Jonasson opts for a more moody, surreal tone in The Girl Who Died. While the novel, translated from Icelandic by Victoria Cribb, lacks his usual pileup of bodies and violence, the slow-building sense of dread and unease Jonasson creates more than compensates.
This stand-alone, a mist-shrouded blend of horror and psychological thriller, works in every way. The isolated village and the pre-smartphone 1980s setting create a sense of claustrophobia that combines with the villagers’ secrecy and the hint of supernatural elements to infuse strong foreboding throughout what is ultimately revealed to be a story about trust. A draw for Jónasson’s growing fan base, along with fans of Jennifer McMahon, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, and Camilla Läckberg.
... unsettling ... Jónasson makes Una’s plight feel vivid and immediate, and effectively uses the isolated setting to create a claustrophobic atmosphere. While this packs less of a punch than the author’s best work, it’s far superior to most similarly themed thrillers.