When two small-time crooks rob Reykjavik's premier drugs dealer, hoping for a quick escape to the sun, their plans start to unravel after their getaway driver fails to show. Tensions mount between the pair and the two women they have grabbed as hostages when they find themselves holed upcountry in an isolated hotel that has been mothballed for the season.
Back in the capital, Gunnhildur, Eirikur and Heigi find themselves at a dead end investigating what appear to be the unrelated disappearance of a mother, her daughter and their car during a day's shopping, and the death of a thief in a house fire.
Gunna and her team are face with a set of riddles but as more people are quizzed it begins to emerge that all these unrelated incidents are in fact linked. And at the same time, two increasingly desperate lowlifes have no choice but to make some big decisions on how to get rid of their accidental hostages ....
Welcome to the Blog Tour for Thin Ice by Quentin Bates, published by Constable (Little Brown) on 3 March 2016. Thin Ice is the fifth book in the Officer Gunnhildur series. The previous books in the series are: Frozen Out (2011); Cold Comfort (2012): Chilled To The Bone (2013) and Cold Steal (2014). I am a huge fan of Quentin Bates and Gunnhildur (Gunna), and have been reading this series since the very beginning, you can read my reviews of the last three in the series by clicking on the links above.
I was delighted to be able to catch up with Officer Gunnhildur, affectionately known as Gunna, in Thin Ice, the latest instalment in the series. Quentin Bates introduced me to Iceland four years ago, and I was hooked by his storytelling, and his characters back then, and I still am. Even though there are four books about Gunna before Thin Ice, there is no reason whatsover that this cannot be read as a standalone as Quentin Bates gives the reader glimpses into Gunna's history throughout this story, which is also useful for those readers who are familiar with the series, as it has been a while since the last one!
Gunna and her police colleague sidekicks, Eirikur and Heigi have a series of unexplained events to investigate; there's the sudden disappearance of Erna and Tinna Lund, a mother and daughter who didn't return from a shopping trip. There's also a suspected murder, a shady character has been found dead in his home after a house fire, but he has unexplained injuries, not related to a fire.
Meanwhile, the reader is well aware of Erna and Tinna Lund's whereabouts. They're holed up with two heavies, in a closed-up hotel, in the middle of nowhere, in the midst of a heavy snow storm.
I am very fond of Gunna as a character, she has her problems and Quentin Bates deals her some rough cards to play, but she's a fine police officer and loyal mother. However, in Thin Ice, it is the bad guys who steal the show. The two accidental kidnappers, Ossur and Magni are so well created, with a depth of character that allows the reader to empathise with them, even if they don't like them or agree with them. And then we have Erna and Tinna Lund, two women who are complex and unpredictable in their behaviours and who in their own way, change the story completely.
Alongside the icy remote Icelandic location, and the tongue-twisting names, Thin Ice is a belter of a story. The writing is impeccable, the characters are superb and the pacing is perfect. I loved it, and can't wait to find out what Quentin Bates has in store for Gunna in the next book of the series.
Quentin Bates was born in England and through a series of conincidences found himself working in Iceland for his gap year. One year turned into ten, plus a wife and children. After ten years writing on the sea and a move back to the UK, Quentin took to dry land and began work as a nautical journalist and editor of a commercial fishing magazine.
He divides his time between Iceland and England.
The Gunnhildur Gisladottir series was born through the author's own inside knowledge of Iceland, and its society, along with exploring the world of crime.
Find out more about the author and his writing at www.graskeggur.com
Follow him on Twitter @graskeggur