Cold Breath (Gunnhildur Mystery) by Quentin Bates

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Cold Breath (Gunnhildur Mystery) by Quentin Bates

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Buy Cold Breath (Gunnhildur Mystery) by Quentin Bates at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The eighth book in the Gunnhildur series sees a change of work for Gunna: this time she's a bodyguard. Despite the change, it's one of the best of the series, which seems to be getting stronger. Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: October 2018
Publisher: Constable
ISBN: 978-1472127761

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Gunna wasn't too keen when she was taken off police duties to become a bodyguard. It wasn't just the sheer inconvenience of it - away from home for however long the job took and with no contact with the family - she wasn't the only one to have doubts about the man she was guarding. Invited to Iceland by prominent politician Steinunn Strand, Ali Osman was either a saint who devoted himself to helping refugees escape the carnage in their Middle Eastern homeland, or a money-laundering gunrunner. The truth was probably a combination of the two, but whichever or whatever was correct, there's money on Osman's head and this is the reason why he and Gunna are holed up in an isolated house outside Reykjavik, with Gunna toting a gun under her fleece and with a group of armed police in a nearby house.

It's not long before the press realise not only that Osman is in Iceland, but where he's staying. And if the press know it's certain that the people who want Osman (and is it dead or alive?) will not be far behind. Cooped up in the house together the tensions rise: Osman is hardly emancipated as far as women are concerned, although they have a few uses. They are, obviously, there for the domestic chores and anything else that's required of them. Gunna's no domestic goddess, and no matter how charming and charismatic Osman is she's not inclined to any other sort of relationship, not least because she's working.

I started Cold Breath with a sense of dread. I mean, Gunna the grandmother as a bodyguard? How convincing, how engaging was that going to be? Well, I did Gunna and Quentin Bates a disservice. Gunna's an excellent bodyguard, particularly when the chips are down and Bates isn't inclined to write a dull book. He has a real talent for ramping up the tension and there were several occasions when I had to remind myself to breathe - it was just a story.

It's a great story though, stretching through Iceland to Russia, Brussels and the Middle East. It's very relevant too with refugees arriving in Europe on a daily basis. Are the people who ship them over money grabbing rogues or are they providing a much-needed service? Can you be involved in something like that and be whiter than white - or does the end justify the means? It brought home to me too quite what it means to be an armed police officer, with a responsibility to the person you're guarding and to the public at large.

I really couldn't see how the story was going to work out but Bates produces a very satisfying denouement which left me smiling. Great stuff - and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

You could read this book as a standalone but you'll get more out of it if you've read earlier books in the series, not least because you stand some chance of understanding Gunna's rather complicated family life, and it's hardly an imposition. Here's a list of the earlier books in the series:

Quentin Bates' Officer Gunnhildur Icelandic Mysteries in Chronological Order

Buy Cold Breath (Gunnhildur Mystery) by Quentin Bates at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Cold Breath (Gunnhildur Mystery) by Quentin Bates at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Cold Breath (Gunnhildur Mystery) by Quentin Bates at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Cold Breath (Gunnhildur Mystery) by Quentin Bates at Amazon.com.

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