FROZEN OUT

Written by Quentin Bates

Review written by Judith Cutler

Judith Cutler is the author of many short stories and some thirty novels. Her most recent is Ring of Guilt (Severn House) the latest in the series featuring antique dealers Griff Tripp and Lina Townend. Check out the other novels on www.judithcutler.com


FROZEN OUT
Constable Robinson
RRP: £7.99
Released: 27th January 2011
Pbk Original
Frozen Out is Quentin Bates’ debut novel, and a very good one it is, too, drawing on the author’s years spent living in Iceland to provide a background as chilly as Mankell’s Sweden, even if the material is much less dark.

Gunnhildur (Gunna) is a police sergeant in a rural force. She’s a widow, with two growing up children, both remarkably well-adjusted and obedient. Usually her work involves simply redirecting traffic taking material to the site of a new smelting works for enforcing fishing quotas. When a body is discovered in the local harbour, it would be easy to take the official line – that the victim, a young man, was simply drunk and fell in. However, since he appeared to have driven a hundred kilometres or so without the help of a vehicle, Gunna’s suspicions are aroused. With minimal official help, against the backdrop of the Iceland financial crash and the hostility of the powers that be, she presses on with her investigation. A blogger with far more knowledge about both the immediate crime and the world of high politics both irritates her and incites her to further action.

Gunna is an interesting protagonist, so well-drawn and likeable that the promotion she gains at the end of the novel ought to lead to further outings. If I have a tiny niggle it is one anticipated by the author. Since Icelanders don’t have surname in the UK sense, it’s sometimes hard to work out who is who. And as for the names – think Norse sagas and their complicated multi-syllabic characters. But don’t be put off. Read it for yourself and enjoy a civilised read from a more than promising newcomer.
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