When a shipowner is found dead, tied to a bed in one of Reykjavik's smartest hotels, sergeant Gunnhildur Gisladottir of the city police force sees no evidence of foul play but still suspects things are not as cut and dried as they seem. And as she investigates the shipowner's untimely - and embarrassing - demise, she stumbles across a discreet bondage society whose members are being systematically exploited and blackmailed.
But how does all this connect to a local gangster recently returned to Iceland after many years abroad, and the unfortunate loss of a government laptop containing sensitive data about various members of the ruling party? What begins as a straightforward case for Gunnhildur soon explodes into a dangerous investigation, uncovering secrets that ruthless men are ready to go to violent extremes to keep.
Praise for Quentin Bates:
'Superior crime fiction set in Iceland... this is a well constructed, well written and satisfying police procedural'. The Times.
A meticulously constructed thriller, peopled with exceptionally convincing characters and shot through with black humour. Frozen Out is as chilling as an Icelandic winter. S.J. Bolton
"[A] crackling fiction debut ... palpable authenticity." Publishers Weekly
British 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 Reykjavík mysteries will want to add Bates to their reading lists. Booklist
Bates's third novel starring Icelandic Police Sergeant Gunna Gisladottir (after 2012's Cold Comfort) gives American readers the flavor of another place, but without a truly compelling storyline. Gunna is called in when the corpse of Johannes Karlsson, a haddock baron, is found in a Reykjavik hotel, tied to a bed. Bates reveals the reason for the bondage early on, showing an attractive con artist named Hekla luring another S&M client to a different hotel room, and stealing his money. Meanwhile news that three men and a woman who disappeared from Germany two years earlier have turned up dead in Libya reaches one of the minister's political advisor, leaving readers curious as to how these storylines connect. The author tosses in an ex-con muscleman nicknamed Bigfoot as well, but the ultimate resolution of the storylines is disappointing, and Gunna proves to be a rather bland lead.