Double Blind: The Icelandic Manuscript Murders by Sara Winokur was recently released. This hot new mystery novel has us wishing we could jump in the pages and live in Iceland, solve cold cases, and walk in main charecter, Brynja, shoes. This novel keeps you guessing throughout the interwoven story line. We wanted to learn more about author Sara Winokur’s hot new book and she gave us the inside scoop!
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I knew I wanted to write a fun, fast-paced mystery that also touches on some real world issues. I was a research geneticist for twenty-five years and wanted to do for genetics and DNA forensics what John Grisham does for the law in his legal thrillers and John Clancy does for espionage and the military. That is, to weave genetics into a mystery in an engaging way. I’ve always been a big fan of Nordic noir, so when I learned that Iceland has a national DNA database, I thought that might be a good place to start. On my first visit there several years ago, I was enamored by the kind of eerie, otherworldly landscapes and remote farmsteads and thought…well this is a great place for a mystery involving DNA and the disappearance of a young boy!
Can You Tell Us About the Book from Your Point of View?
Double Blind: The Icelandic Manuscript Murders is a mystery-thriller about a forensic geneticist, Brynja Pálsdóttir, who uses the national DNA database to solve crimes. Twenty years after her young brother vanishes from a fjord in North Iceland, a mysterious poem containing clues to his whereabouts drawn from a medieval manuscript lands on her desk. He’s alive…or is he? More poems arrive, but trouble is right behind. Each poem is now followed by deadly consequences. The stakes are raised until Brynja herself becomes the target; she must summon the strength to navigate the twisted labyrinth of the poet’s mind and confront the dark secret buried in her family’s past.
What Can Readers Expect from This Book?
Double Blind delves into a fascinating world that readers might not have been exposed to. There’s a lot in the book about plant poisons, DNA forensics, the Icelandic sagas, the many endearing quirks of Icelandic culture and food … tons of trivia for the next time readers are on Jeopardy. Seriously, there’s lot of food for thought for readers while being entertained. The book touches on such controversial subjects like DNA databases and genetic privacy
Can You Tell Me Three Fun Facts About The Main Character of Your Book?
- She’s somewhat of a prodigy: in her twenties but heads up the forensics department at a DNA biotech company. She’s determined, empathetic, but flawed – thinks she can do everything herself.
- She’s got a perceptual disorder called AIWS (Alice in Wonderland Syndrome) which is a real thing; people with the disorder view things as larger or smaller than they really are.
- She’s engaged to the prime minister
What Are Your Plans for Future Writing Projects?
Double Blind: The Icelandic Manuscript Murders can certainly stand on its own, but I’m bringing many of the same characters forward into my second novel, Ivory Bones. It’s a
mystery thriller that involves an historical event in the 1600’s in which Barbary pirates attacked the south coast and took many Icelanders as slaves back to North Africa. The setting spans from Iceland to Morocco to New Amsterdam.
What Do You Want the World to Know About Your Book?
That they might want to think twice about sharing their DNA and that in addition to a fun read, a mystery can address some societal issues we’re dealing with. In the case of Double Blind: The Icelandic Manuscript Murders, I hope people will reconsider the pros and cons of DNA testing.
What Do You Hope Will Be the Everlasting Thoughts for Readers Who Finish Your Book?
A central theme is that of perseverance, of never giving up. If something is important to you and it takes years, even decades, to reach your goal, then every bit of time and effort will be well worth it. At the very least, you’ll know you put your all into it. That, in itself, is success.
How Is Your Book Different From Other Mystery Books?
First it’s set in Iceland, which is an unusual place for an American to write about. Because of that, I spent a lot of time researching the country’s culture, history, geography, language, and culture. I’ve also been to Iceland many times so it was easy for me to see how such a remote and—up until recently—isolated place is ripe for a mystery in which a young child disappears. Iceland has a DNA database – not a criminal database, but a bank of DNA voluntarily donated by the many of its citizens. It’s controversial as you might guess since privacy of personal information is an issue we’re all concerned about.
What is Your Favorite Passage From Your Book?
“The merry-go-round jerked, then spun about, faster and faster, until the waves of her hair flew with the horse’s mane. Soaring above the crowd, she let go of the reins, lifted her face to the sun, and kissed the clear, blue sky. With each exhilarating turn, Lúkas grew smaller and smaller, until, when the carousel slowed and the horses reared to a halt, he was nowhere to be seen.”
If You Had to Compare Your Book to a Popular Movie or TV Show, What is it Most Like?
Many readers have told me that they can visualize the story as if they are seeing a movie. While I didn’t write Double Blind with this in mind, I’m completely open to optioning the story. I’m certainly not a screenwriter or film producer, but would love to see the book made into a movie. BlueInk Reviews deemed Double Blind: The Icelandic Manuscript Murders a Notable Book and wrote: “It’s enticing to compare this fine, galloping murder mystery to the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, but that would be a disservice to Winokur’s compelling debut. There’s one similarity with Larsson’s books: This would make a terrific movie.”
Learn more about Double Blind and author Sara Winokur by visiting her website. Want to win a free copy of Double Blind? Enter the Double Blind: Icelandic Manuscript Murders Adventure Giveaway for a chance to win the book plus other Icelandic goodies!