My first book for this post is Cold Comfort by Quentin Bates. I read his first detective story, set in Iceland as is this, last year and my review is here. The ending was left rather ambiguous. As you will see from the earlier review, Frozen Out featured a mysterious blogger whose identify was left in doubt and I rather expected this to be continued, or to find out who it was in this new book, but not so. Instead we have a story with no connection whatsoever which slightly disappointed me but then I started to read and the disappointment disappeared as I re-acquainted myself with Sargeant Gunnhildur who is now working in the capital, Reykjavik, and heading up two investigations. The first is tracking down an escaped convict who is eager to settle old scores, and then the dead body of a TV fitness presenter is discovered in her apartment. It seems the victim has connections with business men and members of parliament and Gunnhildur soon finds herself in murky waters. These wealthy and influential figures want no scandal and do their best to hinder the investigation at every turn.
A nice tightly plotted and well written thriller, I found myself enjoying this title very much. The heroine, or should I call her a hero in this days of political correctness, is a warm, likable woman who seems to have a good relationship with her teenage daughter - quite a surprise when most detective/police protagonists have dreadful family lives - and has found herself a new partner with whom she seems to be happy. Shock, horror!
Recommended and I hope this will be a long and successful series.
The Drowning by Camilla Lackberg is the latest in the series featuring Detective Patrik Hedstrom and if you have read them from book one, which I have, it is also part of the enjoyment of these stories to follow his personal and family life which runs like a thread through the investigations. In the latest Patrik and Erica are married and, as well as their small daughter, are now awaiting the birth of twins. Tired and exhausted by the lack of sleep associated with small children, he is facing the mysterious death of Magnus Kjellner, found frozen underneath the ice in a lake. He is part of a small group of friends who are all receiving deeply unpleasant and threatening letters from somebody who clearly wishes them ill. Though they have known each other for most of their lives they deny having any link which could make them joint targets.
As in earlier Lackberg titles, there are flashbacks to the childhood of one of the protagonists which may go a long way to explain the vendetta being pursued against them, but no clue is given as to who it is, though the reason for the threats become clearer.
The amount of wonderful crime novels coming out of Scandinavia never fails to amaze, so many talented and wonderful writers and Camilla Lackberg is up there at the top. If you have not read any of hers, do try them but though I don't normally say you must read them in order, in this case I think it is a good idea. Not just because of the investigations which are separate stories of their own, and not just the family thread which I have already mentioned, but for the back stories of the various members of the police and detective force which are humorous and sad at the same time.
I do think I have to enter a warning here - that there is a double twist at the end of this book. Not only will the identity of the murderer knock you sideways, Camilla Lackberg slips in a shocking event in the personal life of Patrik which will keep you on tenterhooks until the next one in the series comes out.
Another excellent book by this author.
And, finally, Venice and this must mean Guido Brunetti and the latest by Donna Leon. I have very little to say about Beastly Things except that I was bitterly disappointed by this rather vague, rambling and uninteresting book. There are scenes in a slaughterhouse which I thought totally unnecessary and I rather wondered if Ms Leon had decided to take up the cudgels to campaign against some of the practices used. Don't know. All I do know is that I found it far and away the poorest of the entire series and was rather upset by this. Donna Leon is an author whose books I always purchase, I don't ask for review copies etc and yet this time one turned up. I can only be pleased I did not pay for this particular one as I would have thought my money wasted. So sorry to say this because, as you all know, I adore these Brunetti books.
Ah well, look forward to the next one.....