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by Quentin Bates
Soho Crime, December 2013
320 pages
ISBN: 1616953306

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The setting for the latest in the Gunnhilder mystery series is the frigidly cold, damp, dreary Icelandic countryside in winter. Every scene appears filled with snow, ice, slush, or some other totally cheerless weather condition. However, if a reader can psychologically handle such lackluster settings, the reward will be a well-told story.

It begins when Sergeant Gunna Gisladottir of the Reykjavik police is called to one of the country's nicest hotels to investigate a murder. Not everything adds up, and witnesses are tight-lipped. Staff are reluctant to reveal anything that might damage the hotel's reputation, but the dead corpse, a wealthy shipping magnate who lies naked, bound and gagged, hides nothing.

A mystery woman (or is it two?) appears on the closed circuit hotel tapes at the crime scene, but no one knows who she is. When the police begin investigating, it soon becomes clear that someone else is following (or even preceding) them in their search for the possible killer and somehow the crime is tied to a parallel series of events related to a government ministry that is in search of a missing laptop.

As the pieces of these divergent puzzles become clearer, bodies start piling up, and it soon becomes apparent that a hardened criminal once held in a Lithuanian jail (and now freed and returned to Iceland) is also involved. But just who is he working for, and who is following the man with the missing laptop? It all comes together in CHILLED TO THE BONE.

Christine Zibas is a freelance writer and former director of publications for a Chicago nonprofit.

Reviewed by Christine Zibas, January 2014

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