New mystery thriller sheds light on Icelandic culture, DNA databases

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By Marissa Wells

Contributing Writer

Twenty-seven-year-old Brynja Palsdottir, is a DNA scientist haunted by her brother’s disappearance.

Now, 20 years after his disappearance from an Icelandic fjord, she receives a mysterious poem containing clues to his location. As she unravels the clues, more poems arrive with dire consequences for each recipient.

Will she be able to solve the case before she becomes the target?

That’s the basis for the mystery thriller, “Double Blind: The Islandic Manuscript Murders,” by Sara Winokur.

“Double Blind” is Winokur’s first book and was inspired by her desire to write a mystery novel involving genetics and how it affects lives.

“I’ve always been a big fan of Nordic noir, so when I learned that Iceland has a DNA database of the majority of its citizens, I thought that might be a good place to start,” Winokur said.

Before beginning her career as an author, Winokur had a long university research career in genetics. Now, as an author, she wanted to write a book that was not only entertaining but also informative.

“I’ve always felt while I was doing research that scientists don’t do a terrific job explaining to the general public, or any friends and family, what we do as scientists and I thought in addition to writing a fun mystery, I would tie in genetics in some way to make it more accessible to people so that they understood the basics of genetics,” Winokur said.

“Double Blind” also shares authentic elements of Icelandic culture and sheds light on the pros and cons of DNA sharing.

The mystery thriller can be enjoyed by those who love mysteries, historical fiction and learning about new things and experiences.

Some of the obstacles the protagonist, Brynja, faces are loss, trust issues, acceptance, the value of perseverance and more.

“She felt responsible for losing her brother,” Winokur said. “Part of her journey is overcoming that self-inflicting wound of not only losing her brother but feeling responsible for it.”

Winokur is currently working on a new book that’s set in Iceland but centers around a different mystery. She lives in Laguna Niguel. For information about the author and her work visit

“Double Blind: The Islandic Manuscript Murders” is available for $12.99 (paperback) or $4.99 (eBook) on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and at many independent book stores.

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