Michael Joseph has signed up a new crime series from Icelandic author Ragnar Jónasson, whose Dark Iceland series is published by Orenda.
MJ acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, including audio, to The Darkness (Dimma) by Jónasson, as part of a two-book deal agreed with David Headley at D H H Literary Agency.
Jónasson’s new series revolves around female detective inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir, who in The Darkness is called to investigate when the body of a young woman, a Russian asylum seeker, is found. The second book, The Island (Drungi), released in Iceland this October, deals with the investigation of two murders, 10 years apart. The series is set across a variety of Icelandic landscapes, in Reykjavik, the Icelandic highlands, in an isolated fjord and on one of Iceland’s islands.
Michael Joseph will publish The Darkness in hardback in 2018. The novel was first published in Iceland in 2015 by Veröld and, according to publishers, was one of the country’s bestselling novels of 2015. It was also runner-up for the Icelandic Novel of the Year Award, selected by Icelandic booksellers.
MJ publishing director Maxine Hitchcock said: "Ragnar Jónasson has fast become one of the most respected authors of the crime genre and is one of the most talented. In this new series he promises even more. Hulda is a fantastic creation, a memorable, complex and emotionally engaging character, and one we are sure readers in the UK and beyond will want to follow for many books to come."
Jónasson's Snowblind in the Dark Iceland series, translated by Quentin Bates, was a number one Kindle bestseller in the UK and Australia, while the second book in the series, Nightblind, won the Dead Good Reader Award for "most captivating crime in translation" in 2015.
The series was optioned for TV by On the Corner, the UK production company responsible for the Academy Award-winning documentary “Amy”, as reported on in March.
Ragnar was born in Reykjavik where he works as a writer and a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University, has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service and has translated 14 of Agatha Christie’s novels into Icelandic. He is the co-founder of the Iceland Noir festival which takes place in Iceland in November and recently set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA, in Reykjavik.