I’ve been a fan of Quentin Bates and his Icelandic crime hero, officer Gunnhildur (Gunna), for a long time. It wasn’t quite love at first sight, considering that I read the somewhat clumsy German translations of “Frozen Out” and “Cold Comfort” first, but I’ve grown to like Gunna and all the others a lot. And I must say that it’s well worth reading the English originals!
So, of course I read all the other books that followed, and because I’m a paper person when it comes to books, I was thrilled that “Thin Ice”, the latest Gunnhildur story, is available not just as an e-book, but as a classic paperback.
You can get the book at any book store, and if you can, please go and buy local. 🙂
Like all of Quentin’s books, Thin Ice combines the best of both worlds, Iceland and Britain. Quentin is an outsider, not living in Iceland at the moment, and an insider at the same time, having family in Iceland, speaking the language, having lived there and being busy translating Icelandic crime stories by other remarkable writers.
The story is very Icelandic, you almost hear someone muttering “Þetta reddast” on every second page, you have the typical weather quirks, you have country people and city people (contrary to popular belief, not every Icelander is an outdoor enthusiast), you have the country side, you have unexpected twists and turns… and it also has a certain “Britishness” about it, most notably in Quentin’s choice of words and phrases.
I love how the story unfolds. Who is victim? Who is villain? Where does the money go? Who is together with whom and why and how long? It’s a bit like driving along a fjord and finding something new after each turn in the winding road. Whenever you think, oh, yes, this is where the story goes, something new happens. You’ll have pleasant surprises until the very end. And I’ve seldom read crime fiction where I felt so much sympathy for the “bad” guys, or at least one of them. Same for the “innocent” people, they’re very human and not always likeable and sometimes I thought, why on earth did the crooks have to kidnap just these two, couldn’t they have taken someone else. But I’m glad Quentin spun his yarn the way he did. It makes Thin Ice a very good read indeed!
If you’re looking for a high number of dead bodies, Thin Ice is not for you. If you’re looking for a diverse story that could have happened in real life and interesting characters and a setting in one of the most picturesque and fascinating places in the world, then Thin Ice is for you. Even if you haven’t read all the other books, Thin Ice is for you. You can easily jump in since you don’t have to know Gunna since she was little to enjoy the story.
I would like to thank Linda MacFadyen who did a great job in organising the blog tour and making sure everyone received their review copy on time. And I hope that Quentin will find the time to write more Gunnhildur stories – and maybe one day there will be another publisher making the books available in German.