It’s my spot on the blog tour for Thin Ice, the new novel by Quentin Bates. Iceland was a country that I’d always wanted to go to, so I signed up for the Iceland Noir event in 2013 as soon as it was announced. It was not only a wonderful festival but I was bowled over by the stunning landscape and the picturesque charms of Reykjavik. I’ve now been there three times and am already planning my next visit.
Iceland, of course, has some fine home-grown writers and Arnaldur, Yrsa and Ragnar all make regular appearances on this blog. Quentin Bates knows the country well, having lived there for over ten years and is fluent in the language. His knowledge of the country comes across in Thin Ice, where he doesn’t go overboard on descriptions of the landscape but tells a thrilling tale to the backdrop of an Icelandic winter. Two small-time crooks botch up an armed robbery, seize two hostages and hole up in an isolated hotel. Meanwhile in Reykjavik, Bates’s regular detective, Officer Gunnhildur (Gunna) investigates the disappearance of a mother and daughter and the death of a thief in a house fire.
As with previous books, Bates expertly takes the reader around the mishaps of those existing in the underbelly of Icelandic society. The minutiae that we discover is fascinating, including how seamen wash their underpants. The star of the book, as usual, is Gunna who combines practicality with an adventurous spirit.
Thin Ice is a meaty read with plenty of twists and turns. I particularly enjoyed how the pace quickened as we reached the denouement. I devoured the book over a cold, snowy February weekend and it was perfect winter reading.