ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



March 2024



Outside by Ragnar Jónasson

Written by , Posted in Reviews

4 Stars

Best for:
Those looking for a claustrophobic mystery told from many perspectives.

In a nutshell:
College friends Helena, Gunnlauger, Ármann, and Daníel are getting together for a weekend of shooting birds and catching up. But it is winter in Iceland, so really anything can happen.

Worth quoting:
N/A (Jónasson is an excellent author but I don’t often find myself underlining phrases in his books.)

Why I chose it:
I’ve read nearly all of his other books and loved them. I had no idea this one existed!

I do enjoy a mystery told from multiple perspectives, and I especially enjoy it when none of the characters seem fully innocent.

That is the case with this book. There is Daníel, the struggling actor who has chosen to live in England instead of Iceland, and hasn’t been home in a couple of years. There is Helena, the only woman in the group, who is grieving the death of her partner five years ago. There is Ármann, who runs a successful tourism company. And there is Gunnlauger, who is really only there because he’s a childhood friend of Daníel, and he’s a bit of creep.

The weekend starts out fine, with the group drinking at their comfortable hunting lodge. But the following day, while the four of them are out on a bird hunt, an unexpected storm hits, causing them to try to seek shelter in a respite hut. They find the hut, and are faced with an utter shock.

From there, there are some choices made, and some secrets come to light. It had unexpected twists (as his novels often do) and literally made it challenging for me to put down. I started it before bed on Friday night, then picked it up after I did some chores on Saturday morning, reading straight through to the end (including while eating lunch). I love that feeling, of wanting to get through the page I’m reading so I can see what’s happening on the next one, and once again, Jónasson has done that for me.

What’s next for this book:
Donate – hopefully the next reader will enjoy it as much as I did.

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