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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

‘Cold Steal’ by Quentin Bates

Published by Constable and Robinson, 1 May 2014.

This is another fine mystery by Mr Bates.  He is adept at turning a cold eye on a seemingly placid community like Iceland, more particularly, on Reykjavik, deftly dissecting the seething subsoil of crime which lies beneath the Nordic landscape. 

In Cold Steal, he turns his ice-pick sharp attention to the nefarious operations of what he calls the Baltic Boys, from east Europe, who have invaded the Icelandic criminal society.  A man is found dead in a house in a half-completed suburb of the city, with his naked girl-friend crouched beside him.  Who?  Why?  At the same time, the police are trying to track down a highly-successful burglar whom nobody ever sees or hears.  Sergeant Gunnhildur "Gunna" Gísladóttir is on the case again, doggedly following information, talking to possible suspects, making the kind of intelligent moves which bring her ever closer to the solution.

We are also introduced to three women who have come from eastern Europe to Iceland to look for work, and find it by getting taken on by a company which has contracts to regularly clean houses, many of them on the self-same half-completed suburb in which the unknown burglar operates.

Bates has the gift of bringing alive his terrain, as well as a subtle sense of humour.  Gunna's family complications are hilarious.  Cold Steal is a complex, multi-stranded and absorbing crime story  in which Bates skilfully interweaves the various threads of his plot and shows him making a significant advance as a novelist.
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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