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Frozen Out


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Murder, corruption and financial meltdown in Iceland's rural backwaters.

About the Author

Although born in the UK in 1962, through a series of coincidences Quentin Bates found himself working in Iceland in his gap year. The gap year then became 10 years, during which time he managed to get himself married, produce a family, and generally go native in Iceland. The family then moved back to the UK in 1990 where Quentin became a full-time journalist on a commercial fishing magazine. Frozen Out was born through the author's own inside knowledge of Iceland and its society, along with exploring the world of crime. He and his (Icelandic) wife frequently return to Iceland, where they have many friends, including several in the Reykjavik police.


When the body of a young man is found floating off the Icelandic village of Hvalik, no-nonsense cop Gunnhildur "Gunna" Gisladottir, the star of British journalist Bates's crackling fiction debut, assumes it's an accidental drowning. But when Gunna and her team discover that the victim worked for a Reykjavik PR firm with ties to a contentious local aluminum smelter project despised by the environmental group Clean Iceland, they realize that homicide, rare as it is in the island nation, is more likely. Thrown into the mix is a mysterious and incendiary blogger known as Skandalblogger with the inside scoop on all things economic and political in Iceland, not to mention societal gossip, and a young crime reporter shadowing Gunna for a story. By setting the action in the months leading up to the 2008 banking collapse, Bates, who lived in Iceland for a decade, imbues this series first with a palpable authenticity. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Set in an Icelandic coastal village, Bates's debut offers a twist on the Nordic crime wave-the author is a Brit (albeit one who spent a decade living in Iceland). When the body of a young PR executive is discovered in the waters off of sleepy Hvalvik, Sgt. Gunnhildur "Gunna" Gisladottir, a widow and mother of two, suspects foul play. She slowly pieces together the man's connection to an aggressive environmental conservation group and their opposition to an aluminum smelter project, a scheme backed by a corrupt government minister. Meanwhile, an anonymous blogger is posting incendiary statements about the minister's wife, and a group of journalists also sniff around the case. As more secrets come tumbling out, Gunna identifies the probable killer but struggles to catch him before the powers that be shut down her investigation. -VERDICT Although the government conspiracy and muckraking angle is reminiscent of Stieg Larsson, the comparison ends there, as flat prose and predictable plotting help evaporate much of the tension. Still, the flinty Gunna is a likable sleuth and should appeal to fans of Helene Tursten's Detective Inspector Huss.-Annabelle Mortensen, Skokie P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

A meticulously constructed thriller, peopled with exceptionally convincing characters and shot through with black humour. Frozen Out is as chilling as an Icelandic winter.Well written and absorbing. - Woman's WayHe has the requisite nous. - Good Book Guide[A] crackling fiction debut ... palpable authenticity. - Publishers WeeklyBritish author Bates captures the chilly spirit of Nordic crime fiction in what is the apparent start of a promising series with a distinctly appealing protagonist. Fans of Arnaldur Indridason's Reykjavik mysteries will want to add Bates to their reading lists. - Booklist...his blistering debut reads more like an American procedural than the British product, right down to a denouement as acridly unsatisfying as today's headlines. - Kirkus Reviews

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