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Frozen Assets: Gunnhilder Mystery Series by Quentin Bates
Cover Artist: Photo: Stephen H. Sheffield / Getty Images
Review by Mel Jacob
Soho Crime Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781569478677
Date: 18 January 2011 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Quentin Bates, a British journalist, begins his debut mystery series with Frozen Assets set in Iceland against the background of that country's financial meltdown. Police sergeant Gunnhilder Gísladóttir, known as Gunna to most people, investigates the suspicious death of a young man from an apparent drowning in a rural village. Others dismiss it as an accidental death, but Gunna doesn't agree.

Intelligent and stubborn, Gunna battles her superior and politicians to seek justice. An environmental group wants the building of an aluminum plant and an electric plant in a nature reserve stopped. The firm the dead man worked for manages both projects. He knew one of the environmentalist killed six month before in a hit and run accident. Corporate interests, politicians, and senior police offices insist both deaths were accidents.

Cynical Icelanders follow a blog site filled with juicy gossip about politicians and others including the head of the company managing the disputed projects and her husband, the Minster for the Environment. The blog hints at shady financial dealings by them and others. The government has had no success in locating and stopping the blogger.

A young journalist shadows Gunna for a piece on rural police. He provides unexpected help to her in her dogged search for a killer. Along with her knowledge of human nature, his data provides key information and pictures of the suspected killer.

Once Gunna identifies the killer, the pace picks up. The intense ending provides a suitable climax, but not what some would hope.

Married to an Icelander and a resident of Iceland for ten years, Bates puts his knowledge to good use in the novel. Most readers will like Gunna and root for her and her handpicked team. Frozen Assets joins other Soho mysteries set outside the United States and provides insights into Icelandic culture. Icelandic names may confuse some, but provide a local flavor to the novel.

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