Cold as Hell

Lilja Sigurdardottír, trans. from the Icelandic by Quentin Bates. Orenda (IPG, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (276p) ISBN 978-1-913193-88-1
Domestic abuse, high-finance hanky-panky, and illegal immigration all figure in this arresting series launch from Sigurdardottír (the Reykjavík Noir trilogy). Áróra, a half-Icelandic financial investigator living in the U.K., has already rescued her older sister, Ísafold, from the sister’s abusive boyfriend, Reykjavík drug dealer Björn, too many times when their English mother begs Áróra to find Ísafold, who’s disappeared. Áróra returns to Iceland, where she soon gets sidetracked bugging the hotel bedroom of Hákon Hauksson, a smooth big-time swindler, in an effort to locate his ill-gotten stash. Meanwhile, Grímur, a weirdo living downstairs from Björn, has his own plan for Björn, which involves Omar, an undocumented refugee hiding out with a gullible middle-aged widow. At her mother’s suggestion, Áróra enlists Daniel Hansson, a police detective who was once married to her aunt, to help search for Ísafold. Intriguing characters and strong local color compensate for the somewhat flat ending that sets up the sequel. This scathing exposure of greed and betrayal is sure to please Scandi noir fans. Agent: Valgerdur Benediktsdottir, Forlagid (Iceland). (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/19/2021
Release date: 02/01/2022
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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