I am continually honoured in the presence of genius in the group of Nordic noir lovers of which I am part. This genius sources in Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway even Derbyshire, and, in this case, Hampshire.
The latest tale from this stable is the excellent Thin Ice from Quentin Bates. A local, homegrown talent who continues to excel with his police procedurals about Gunnhildur an officer in the Reykjavik CID.
However, this isn’t a traditional Whodunit as we start with the bad guys and follow their escape when they car-jack a mother and daughter when their getaway driver fails to be at the rendezvous. In parallel with this Gunnhildur battles with the trials of her private life. Her son has now settled with one of his girlfriends and rekindles his relationship with his now-dying father much to her dismay. Along with this, she is troubled by her two grandchildren sired by her son. The getaway driver is then found dead in a fire. Is this accidental?
The pace switches between the criminals, as a long-standing, habitual, criminal and a monster of a man and his side-kick, who doesn’t have a sheet, whilst the main bad-guy has a sheet as long as his and his sidekick’s arm. The former continually waves a gun at his captives and is unafraid to use it. The alternate thread is following Gunnhildur and her colleagues trying to track down the missing women.
The atmosphere and emotion are diverted by one of the captives, as the daughter of the pair becomes involved with the not so bad sidekick – in this context you could call it ‘Rekjavik Syndrome.’ This adds to the suspense in the story as it leads to an unexpected outcome as a surprise as she – the daughter turns out to be as conniving and deceitful as the criminals themselves.
I’d made a concerted effort to read all the prior novels before starting Thin Ice, as I love reading in sequence, having read Frozen Out when this blog tour was announced and was invited to contribute. As a result, of this, I had missed out on some story line and even questioned the writer about continuity who pointed me to the two novella, WinderLude and Summerchill which I read in parallel – these filled in some blanks on Gunnhildur’s family story.
I really enjoyed reading all of these novels and I do wonder with excitement what is next for Gunnhildur. Will she get that promotion? Will her family life settle down?
Watch out for the next in the saga, but in the meantime Thin Ice stands alone as a great crime story, filled with the atmosphere and coldness that is Iceland-Noir.
I highly recommend it and please follow the rest of the blog tour both backward and forwards.
Credits and references – Quentin Bates – Author Page
Thin Ice Thin Ice (Gunnhildur Mystery)
Cold Comfort Cold Comfort (Gunnhildur Mystery Book 2)
Chilled to the Bone Chilled to the Bone (Gunnhildur Mystery Book 3)
Cold Steal Cold Steal (Gunnhildur Mystery Book 4)
Winterlude Winterlude (Gunnhildur Mystery)
Summerchill Summerchill (Gunnhildur Mystery)