Thin Ice (Officer Gunnhildur) by Quentin Bates

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Thin Ice (Officer Gunnhildur) by Quentin Bates

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The seventh book in the Officer Gunnhildur series doesn't disappoint. This time a series of seemingly unrelated crimes all tie together. Recommended. Quentin Bates popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: March 2016
Publisher: Constable
ISBN: 978-1472121493

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Gunnhildur's family life is a bit complicated. Her son Gisli is now the father of two children, only they're not the traditional year or two apart, but just a few weeks and there are - as you might have gathered - two mothers involved. He's now living not with the one that Gunna might have expected but doing his best to maintain contact with the other, and his other son, of course. At work, two small-time crooks have robbed Reykjavik's most infamous drug dealer of a couple of hundred thousand euros, but couldn't get away as their getaway driver failed to turn up. Two women - mother and daughter - have disappeared along with the mother's car and a thief has died in suspicious circumstances.

On the face of it the incidents are unrelated, but the deeper Gunna delves the more it becomes evident that the three incidents are all part of the same major crime. The two women are being held hostage, but how are the hostage takers going to resolve the situation they've found themselves in - and where are they going to go? And there's a definite relationship developing between one of the thieves and a hostage. Is it more than just Stockholm Syndrome?

As ever the star of this series is Iceland itself and the two thieves have found themselves without a getaway driver in the winter. They might have been better taking the women's car and leaving them behind, but the chance of getting away without anyone realising what had happened was too good to miss. Alli the Cornershop was unlikely to go to the police - explaining where he'd got the money might have been a tad difficult. The downside of this was that they found themselves out in the Icelandic countryside with nowhere to go and two hostages. A mothballed hotel provided a refuge, but where did they go from there? Once a connection between the crooks and the missing women was made there was little chance of them being able to get out of the country. Before long a thick fall of snow made even leaving the hotel a dangerous undertaking.

There's a degree of slow burn with this story: the tension ramps up steadily as one of the thieves becomes more and more erratic (he has a gun - that doesn't help the other three feel confident) and the feeling that there really is nowhere for them to go is claustrophobic. Nicely played is the developing relationship between Magni - the 'hired help' thief - and the younger of the two hostages. I warmed to him and could understand Tinna Lind's feelings - but was there a future for the relationship?

You could read Thin Ice as a standalone, but you'll get more out of it if you've read some of the earlier novels: Gunna's family relationships are complicated! I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.

For more from Iceland we can recommend books by Arnaldur Indridason.

Quentin Bates' Officer Gunnhildur Icelandic Mysteries in Chronological Order

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Linda Boa said:

I've just reviewed it for the Blog Tour, and felt sorry for Magni - he thought he was just robbing a drug dealer of what was dirty money, and ended up with a lot worse on his plate! (Although there were benefits!) But he did ALL the work - even the cooking! Still, I'm sure he thought it would be worth it for the cash Great review!

(I blog at

Sue said:

I know exactly what you mean, Linda! I was really hoping everything would work out for Magni. Any man who volunteers to do the cooking gets brownie points from me!