Frozen Assets

Frozen Assets

Book - 2011
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A body found in the harbor presents a challenge for the Hvalvik, Iceland, police force, led by Sergeant Gunnhildur Gisladottir (Gunna the Cop), which generally deals only with speeding drivers and disorderly drunks. Rejecting the theory that the case is an accidental drowning, Gunna finds a link to an earlier hit-and-run fatality and is on the trail of a canny Norwegian suspected of more than one murder. Along the way, a web of corruption is uncovered, encompassing the federal government and the private sector and involving the minister of Environmental Affairs and his wife, the hot-tempered head of a prominent public-relations firm. Intermittent entries by the anonymous Skandalblogger add spice to the investigation, which is executed efficiently by Gunna, a no-nonsense 36-year-old widow and mother of two teenagers. British author Bates, a former Iceland resident, captures the chilly spirit of Nordic crime fiction in what is the apparent start of a promising series with a distinctly appealing protagonist. Fans of Arnaldur Indridason’s Reykjavík mysteries will want to add Bates to their reading lists.
Publisher: New York : Soho Press, c2011
ISBN: 9781569478677
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY BATES
Characteristics: 330 p. ; 20 cm


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Apr 02, 2018

In this first installment of the series, Gunnhilder (Gunna for short) is a sergeant in a small fishing village southeast of Reykjavik on the eve of the Icelandic economic crash of 2008. Her small town is preparing for major changes as a new aluminum smelting plant is breaking ground nearby. The appearance of a body in the town's harbor causes quite a stir and though there are no marks to indicate foul play, preliminary investigations lead to more questions than answers and by the time the book is over, the first tendrils of the economic crash have begun to reverberate and cause havoc for the elite.

I liked Gunnhildur a lot - she's caring but gruff, takes charge of the investigation without alienating her direct reports, and the author celebrates her robust physique and quirks. The setting could be better developed, descriptions of the spare but beautiful landscape described more fully, but character development takes precedence in Bates' novels and that's not a bad thing. Ready for installment #2, Cold Comfort.

If you like detective novels set in Iceland, also try the Inspector Erlender novels of Arnaldur Indriðason or the Ari Thor novels of Ragnar Jonasson.

Aug 07, 2016

Just discovered this author and really enjoyed reading about Gunna and her work. Now looking forward to reading the next book. Iceland is a country I know very little about so will now do some research. I like it when I read a book and learn something as well enjoy a good mystery.

Mar 17, 2014

The central character is a female police officer who is very real and down to earth. A good book.

Jul 13, 2013

I found the characters so interesting and well-developed that I almost didn't care about "who done it"! And wouldn't you expect a novel set in ICELAND to be peopled with characters who have ICELANDIC names? It sometimes took a bit of time to work out some of the genders but other than that, a really compelling read with characters that interested me. I hope Quentin Bates continues the series with Gunnhildur and her various challenges both at work and at home.

May 13, 2012

The personal nomenclature mentioned in the previous comment was overwhelming to me. Too many characters with too many complicated Icelandic names.


An intricate, well-plotted mystery based on recent events in Iceland. The characters are believable. The book provides insight into Icelandic politics and cultural items such as personal nomenclature.


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