Frozen out – Quentin Bates

Who stepped in to sort out Iceland’s financial mess?  Its women.  What is one of the trends are we seeing in crime fiction at the moment?  Strong female protagonists; women you can admire.  What do you get when you merge these two?  Police sergeant ‘Gunna’ Gunnhildur Gisládottir in the fictional Icelandic backwater village of Hvalvik, in Quentin Bates’s Frozen Out.

Gunna is a fabulous protagonist: a woman who is comfortable in her skin and firm in her mind.  She is the sort of cop we all hope is out there, should we ever need to rely to their work.When a body is found in the harbour, Gunna is under pressure from above to resolve the case quickly, file it and close the drawer on it.  But she is suspicious that this death was no accident and on determining the man’s identification investigates his final days, discovering that he had been anxious over the death of a friend in a hit and run accident.  The friend had been the man’s sounding board for work-related discussions and a colleague believes they may have worked together on a politically and environmentally motivated website.  Set when Iceland’s economy is about to belly flop, Gunna’s investigation takes her into the realms of corporate and political corruption…

Reflecting the times and adding to the tension here, the narrative is interspersed with blog posts from Skandalblogger, an unidentified person or persons with more information on ‘powerful people’ than is comfortable for them.  I felt the novel lost its pace at one point, but at the end of it I was sorry to put it down and to have to leave Gunna’s world.  More please.

“The young man grinned in delight. ‘Thanks.  That would be great.  How do I recognize her?’

‘Gunna?  Can’t miss her.  She’s a big fat lass with a face that frightens the horses.’”

But there is far more to Gunna, I assure you.


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