Icelandic crime fiction writer Ragnar Jónasson is both a vocal fan and a translator of Agatha Christie. With The Mist, the final book in his Hulda trilogy, he earns a comparison to a radically different but equally masterly thriller writer: Stephen King at his chilling best.
It's February 1988, and Detective Hulda Hermannsdóttir of the Reykjavík CID has recently returned from a leave precipitated by a personal tragedy; what happened is one of three mysteries that unravel throughout the novel. At work, Hulda is spinning her wheels on a case--it concerns a young woman's unaccountable disappearance the previous autumn--when her boss sends her to the eastern part of the country to investigate a suspected murder at a farmhouse. Much of The Mist is told from the perspective of Erla, who lives at the farmhouse with her husband and whose account of a stranger's visit begins two months before Hulda arrives at the crime scene.
The Mist's slow-boil suspense and isolated snow-blighted setting can't help but conjure King's The Shining, but Jónasson's meticulous plotting bears the mark of a Christie scholar. Although readers will likely take issue with Hulda's passivity with one aspect of her personal life, they'll stay in her corner. In The Mist and its predecessors, The Darkness and The Island, Hulda understands that she's working at a boys' club and that criminals aren't her only adversaries: "She felt it so keenly, so repeatedly, the sense that some of her colleagues longed for her to make a mistake." --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer