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  • Mandy McHugh

The Girl Who Died, Ragnar Jonasson: A Review

I'm a huge fan of Nordic thrillers. From the remote setting to the small-town secrets, there's really nothing like a good, snowy mystery. I was thrilled to be approved for this title and quickly dove in.

Unsure of what she wants the next step in her future to be, Una decides to leave Reykjavik and take a teaching position in the remote village of Skalar. With a population of only ten people and two students, she's wary about the isolation but determined to make the most out of her appointment. But from the moment she enters Skalar, things feel off. The house might be haunted, Skalar has a complicated history, and it seems everybody has a secret. I really enjoyed this book. To start, The Girl Who Died is incredibly readable. The story is engrossing and the pacing is well-executed. Translations can be tricky because the language can be too jilted or formal, but for the most part, I had no issues with the phrasing or format. Una was a solid protagonist with an authentic voice and endearing characteristics. I enjoyed that she didn't have her entire future plotted, that she was thirty and unsure of her footing, both afraid and excited for a fresh start. It gave her a unique perspective entering Skalar, and I found her investigation into the established dynamics to be my favorite parts. I also liked the supernatural subplot. I wanted a little more from this aspect, actually; I thought there could have been a few more scares to emphasize the isolation, the trauma, and the dread. Overall, The Girl Who Died is a fast, claustrophobic, chilling read with strong characters, enjoyable subplots, and a healthy dose of terror. Thank you to Minotaur and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

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