Cold Comfort by Quentin Bates
|Cold Comfort by Quentin Bates|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The second book in the Gunnhildur series is a worthy successor to Frozen Out. There's a change of location and the country's finances have gone down the pan but Gunna is still a great read. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: March 2012|
|Publisher: Robinson Publishing|
Since we last met Sergeant Gunnhildur she's been promoted and is now working in the Serious Crimes Unit in Reykjavik. It's quite a contrast to her previous job in Hvalvick, but Gunna is determined to make a go of it and it's not long before she has responsibility for two very different cases. A convict has escaped and seems as though he's determined to settle old scores, but why did he need to escape when his ten-year sentence was almost up? The other case is rather more high profile: an ex-TV fitness presenter is murdered in her city apartment and some of the people who knew her are rather well known.
They're crimes - and people - from opposite ends of the social scale but the closer that Gunna looks the more she wonders if it's possible that the two cases are linked in some way. It's not going to be flights of genius which solve this case, but good, old-fashioned police work.
I liked Gunna when we met her in Frozen Out. She's smart, has no pretensions to glamour and has the sort of common sense that you envy. She doesn't care what she's wearing: uniform is as good as anything and better for some purposes and she's definitely not flattered by male attention, no matter who the man might be. Her son's at sea now and her daughter looks as though she's developing her mother's attitude to life, although there might be just a little bit of difficulty in adjusting to the new man in Gunna's life.
It's not just working in the city that Gunna has to come to terms with. Looking back, the country's financial situation had been precarious for a while but the financial crash has percolated right through public service - Gunna has taken to bringing light bulbs and loo roll in from home and her promotion from sergeant seems to be rather a long time in coming despite its having been promised. It doesn't seem to mean that some people can't afford expensive cars though. When you link all this with Bates' ability to evoke the harsh beauty of the Icelandic landscape and the even harsher climate you get a real feeling for the country.
I had a slight problem with some of the characters, but that's down to me rather than the book. Some of the men's names are quite similar and it took me quite a while to work out who was who amongst the friends of the TV presenter - or even how many of them there were. A crib sheet solved the problem and I was free to concentrate on the plot, which is twisty and ingenious. It's a worthy successor to Frozen Out and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If you haven't yet read Frozen Out you should. There's some slight advantage to reading them in chronological order but both worth well as stand alones. For more crime from Iceland we can suggest Outrage by Arnaldur Indridason.
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