Sunday, May 8, 2016

Frozen Assets: Quentin Bates

Description from the front flap of the dust jacket:
A body is found floating in the harbor of a rural Icelandic fishing village. Was it an accident, or something more sinister?  It’s up to Officer Gunnhildur, a sardonic female cop, to find out. Her investigation uncovers a web of corruption connected to Iceland’s business and banking communities. Meanwhile, a rookie crime journalist latches onto her, looking for a scoop, and an anonymous blogger is stirring up trouble. The complications increase, as do the stakes, when a second murder is committed. 
Frozen Assets is a piercing look at the endemic corruption that led to the global financial crisis that bankrupted Iceland’s major banks and sent the country into an economic tailspin from which it has yet to recover.
The strength of this book is Gunna, or Officer Gunnhildur. She is a middle aged policewoman and is portrayed in a very realistic way; she is not glamorous, she tries to do a good job, and being there for her teenage daughter is as important to her as her job. Even though pressure is put on her to ignore the crime she wants to investigate, she continues to believe that it was a crime and not an accident, and never completely lets go of it.

On the other hand, the plot was a bit too complicated for me, and a lot of characters are drawn into the plot. Employees of the business firms, government officials, journalists, policemen from the small village and in Rehkjavik, not to mention the criminals involved. The anonymous blogger (Skandalblogger) who is stirring up problems for the businesses and government officials provides another point of view on the corruption in business and government, but the content of the posts was too infrequent and cryptic for me to get much out of.

To be clear, I consider those criticisms very minor because the book was at all times readable  and entertaining. Plus the fact that it seemed a very accomplished novel for a debut author. 

Frozen Assets was published as Frozen Out in the UK. The rest of the books in the series are:

Cold Comfort (2012)
Winterlude (2013) (novella, only available as an e-book)
Chilled to the Bone (2013)
Cold Steal (2014)
Summerchill (2015) (novella, only available as an e-book)
Thin Ice (2016)

Resources:

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Publisher:   Soho Crime, 2011
Length:       330 pages
Format:       Hardcover
Series:        Officer Gunnhildur, #1
Setting:       Iceland
Genre:        Police Procedural
Source:       I purchased my copy.


12 comments:

  1. It sounds as though, overall, you had a good experience reading this one, Tracy, and I'm glad to hear it. I know what you mean about the involvement of a lot of characters; that can be distracting. Still, it sounds as though you enjoyed it, and that's what matters.

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    1. Margot, this may have been a case when the author was trying to fit too much in, but he succeeded in entertaining me, and that is what counts most to me.

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  2. Interesting, thanks Tracy. So it this one actually written in English, rather than being translated?

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    1. That is correct, Sergio, written in English. I should have noted that the author lived in Iceland for 10 years and now visits there, and his wife is from Iceland. I have only read one book set in Iceland in translation (Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson). But I have two books by other authors to try. Which I should do soon. I think this has a different tone than most Scandinavian mysteries but I found it enjoyable.

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  3. Tracy this sounds very good. I just watched an Icelandic crime thriller, Trapped, and it was superb. I'd love the chance to read books set in Iceland. Will look for this series.

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    1. I do find Iceland interesting as a setting, Peggy. A very unusual country. I hope you find a book in this series.

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  4. Tracy, I still haven't read any Nordic crime fiction but I'm determined to remedy that sometime this year. Start with at least one book.

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    1. Prashant, Nordic crime fiction has a reputation for being dark. This book is not so dark, and the author is English. I have read a few books by Nordic authors, but still have many more to try.

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  5. Like Prashant, I haven't ready any of the Nordic stuff, though there are quite a few I want to read. I'm enthralled by this cover.

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    1. It is a nice cover, Ryan. I like it when a cover reflects the content in the book. Soho does very nice covers.

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  6. I've not done much in the way of Scandi/Nordic crime, and although I often think I should read more, missing out one whole genre does give me more time for other books I'm falling behind on.

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    1. I have bought a lot of crime fiction by Scandinavian authors, but haven't gotten around to reading most of them. I do enjoy them when I fit them in because they have a different feel than US or UK authors usually. This one is by a UK author but I like the series so far and have bought more of them so I hope all the books in this series are good. I do want to read more Henning Mankell and Sjowall & Wahloo.

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