A(nother) Year of Orenda – Cold As Hell by Lilja Sigurðardóttir translated by Quentin Bates

Surprise! Or maybe not. We have form for this. Mandie’s turn to share her thoughts on Cold As Hell, the first book in a brand new series by Lilja Sigurðardóttir and translated by Quentin Bates. An absolutely cracking read you can find my review right here. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: Ebook 28 August 2021
Paperback 28 October 2021
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

Icelandic sisters Áróra and Ísafold live in different countries and aren‘t on speaking terms, but when their mother loses contact with Ísafold, Áróra reluctantly returns to Iceland to find her sister. But she soon realizes that her sister isn’t avoiding her … she has disappeared, without trace.
As she confronts Ísafold’s abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend Björn, and begins to probe her sister’s reclusive neighbours – who have their own reasons for staying out of sight –  Áróra is led into an ever-darker web of intrigue and manipulation.
Baffled by the conflicting details of her sister’s life, and blinded by the shiveringly bright midnight sun of the Icelandic summer, Áróra enlists the help of police officer Daníel, as she tries to track her sister’s movements, and begins to tail Björn – but she isn’t the only one watching…

Slick, tense, atmospheric and superbly plotted, Cold as Hell marks the start of a riveting, addictive new series from one of Iceland’s best selling crime writers.

Mandie’s Thoughts

Having absolutely loved Lilja Sigurðardóttir’s previous series I did a little dance when I found out she was writing a new one. Cold as Hell did not disappoint and am now (im)patiently waiting for the next one to come out. That will teach me to finish the book in a day

The opening chapter certainly sets the scene for the tone of the story but that being said I was in no way prepared for what followed. Áróra and Ísafold are sisters but over the years they have become estranged partially due to the fact that they now live in different countries and partly because Áróra has had enough of the drama that seems to follow her sister around and her refusal to realise that her life choices are possibly not the best. When she receives a call from her mother worried that she has not heard from Ísafold for quite some time Áróra travels to Iceland to find out what is going on, fully expecting her sister to just be hiding away from the latest drama. What she finds is that her sister is missing, and no one seems to know what has happened to her.

As we follow Áróra on her investigations we also get an insight to the dynamic between her and Ísafold and just how different they truly are. Although she is not initially concerned for her sister’s safety, and she takes on some extra work in her spare time you can see the slow transition from indifference to true concern as she tries to find out just exactly what has been going on. As she connects with a distant family member who is a detective in the Icelandic police force they work together in the hope they can determine what has happened to Ísafold.

What I love about Lilja’s writing is her ability to create characters that are complex yet believable. Each one has their secrets, some that have a bearing to Ísafold’s disappearance and others that show they have their own reasons for not helping with the investigations. The twists and turns lead the reader down different paths before the ending is revealed. As the story takes you around Iceland it is her descriptive writing that transports you to this intriguing country with its very different landscape. Although the pace is not as fast as some you may read it is the slow build to the inevitable ending that makes this book a must read. I for one am looking forward to the next in the series.

About the Author

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, including Snare and Trap, the first two books in the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

About the Translator

Quentin Bates escaped English suburbia as a teenager, jumping at the chance of a gap year working in Iceland. For a variety of reasons, the gap year stretched to become a gap decade, during which time he went native in the north of Iceland, acquiring a new language, a new profession as a seaman and a family, before decamping en masse for England. He worked as a truck driver, teacher, netmaker and trawlerman at various times before falling into journalism, largely by accident. He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude, Cold Comfort and Thin Ice) which have been published worldwide. He has translated all of Ragnar Jónasson’s Dark Iceland series.

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Books by Lilja Siguardóttir

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