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Monday, 9 September 2013

‘Chilled to the Bone’ by Quentin Bates

Published by Constable Crime,
18 April 2013.
ISBN: 978-1-4721-0084-9
Another winner for Bates in his Icelandic series featuring nice Sergeant Gunnhildur Gisladóttir.  Again, she is involved with the seamy side of Reykjavik society, while at the same time tracking down the antics of some very dodgy politicos.  An attractive bondage queen likes to get her naked victims splayed on a hotel bed, then takes their credit cards and has a spending spree, insurance against her future.  After an hour, in a twist on the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold cliché, she calls the hotel to report that someone needs help.  A great scheme: her clients aren't going to spill the beans, she gets plenty of new clothes and jewellery and nobody's hurt.  Unfortunately, one of her spread-eagled clients is found dead of a heart attack, jeopardising this lucrative scheme.
At the same time, Sergeant Gunna is brought into an investigation involving helpless Libyan hostages and a missing – and highly incriminating – laptop which some extremely violent criminals will go to excessive lengths to seek and destroy.  I, for one, cheered when their aptly-named enforcer, Baddó, got his just deserts.
Quentin Bates is particularly good on teenagers, and Sergeant Gunna herself – calm, determined, dogged and kind – has dealings with several of those.  In future books,  she is going to find herself coping with the issue(!) of her son Gisla, who has managed to impregnate two women at more or less the same time.
A quietly humorous, extremely well-plotted novel, with solid likable characters.  I just wish there were not quite so many of them, all with names that require a great deal of concentration to keep straight … but that is down to Icelandic nomenclature, rather than the author.  Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Susan Moody

Quentin Bates  is an English novelist of mystery/crime fiction novels. Quentin found himself working in Iceland for a year, which turned into a decade, and has used some of that experience as well as a university writing course to develop his Gunnhildur series. Although he is British, Quentin is more in line with Scandinavian crime fiction authors. Quentin is also a full-time journalist and feature writer for an obscure nautical trade magazine.

Susan Moody was born in Oxford is the principal nom de plume  of Susan Elizabeth Donaldson, née Horwood, a British novelist best known for her suspense novels. She is a former Chairman of the Crime Writer's Association, served as World President of the International Association of Crime Writers, and was elected to the prestigious Detection Club. Susan Moody has given numerous courses on writing crime fiction and continues to teach creative writing in England, France, Australia, the USA and Denmark.  In addition to her many stand alone books, Susan has written two series, on featuring PI Penny Wanawake (seven books) and a series of six books featuring bridge player Cassie Swan.

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