Frozen Assets

Frozen AssetsFrozen Assets by Quentin Bates
Format: ebook
Published by Soho Crime on May 10th 2014
Pages: 330

Goodreads
Series: Officer Gunnhilder #1

A body is found floating in the harbor of a rural Icelandic fishing village. Was it an accident, or something more sinister? It's up to Officer Gunnhildur, a sardonic female cop, to find out. Her investigation uncovers a web of corruption connected to Iceland's business and banking communities. Meanwhile, a rookie crime journalist latches onto her, looking for a scoop, and an anonymous blogger is stirring up trouble. The complications increase, as do the stakes, when a second murder is committed. "Frozen Assets" is a piercing look at the endemic corruption that led to the global financial crisis that bankrupted Iceland's major banks and sent the country into an economic tailspin from which it has yet to recover.

It is interesting to read a murder mystery in a country where murder is all but non-existent, over the last two decades, an average of about two people have been murdered annually in the small and prosperous nation of 336,000. It has had entire years — 2003, 2006 and 2008 — when not a single person was murdered. Just recently, the murder of a 20 Icelander woman made the New York Times.

Iceland like the United States suffered the 2008 financial crisis, unlike the United States, the Icelandic government let its three major banks – Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbankinn – fail and went after reckless bankers. Many senior executives were jailed and the country’s ex-prime minister Geir Haarde was also put on trial, becoming the first world leader to face criminal prosecution arising from the turmoil. although he was cleared of negligence.

With the impending financial crisis as a backdrop Frozen Assets introduces Officer Gunnhildur, single mother, widow, police officer. After finding a body on a beach, Officer Gunnhildur does not accept the accidental death theory, she stumbles into a scheme that the energy minister and his wife are up too to make money at the expense of the taxpayer. Reading about police procedures in other countries is always interesting, unlike Arnaldur Indridason books, Quentin Bates books are not so dark and brooding. Be ready to be confused by the names.

Idaho

IdahoIdaho by Emily Ruskovich
Published by Random House on January 3rd 2017
Pages: 320

Goodreads

O.Henry Prize-winner Emily Ruskovich tells the story of a woman piecing together the mystery of what happened to a family. Idaho is a debut novel about love, forgiveness, and memory—the violence of memory, and the equal violence of its loss.
Ann and Wade have carved out a living for themselves from a rugged landscape, but they are bound together by more than love. In a story told from multiple perspectives—Ann, Wade, Wade’s first wife Jenny, now in prison for murder—and in exquisite, razor-sharp prose, we gradually learn of the shocking act that originally brought Ann and Wade together, and which reverberates through the lives of every character in Idaho.

When you read a book about murder especially a horrific murder you expect a resolution, an explanation, something to ease the pain. In Idaho Emily Ruskovich gives you none of that.

Ann knows when she married Wade that he has early on-set dementia and that his first wife murdered one of their children. The beauty of the story is not about the murder, but how Ann goes about bringing closure to an act that was so brutal. We don’t often get a glimpse of the aftermath of a tragedy, it goes against our sensibilities not to know what happened but the author is more concerned with how life continues after such a tragedy. The book spans a thirty year period, moving from present to past, back and forth from character to character each giving us just a bit of insight always moving forward never back.

Idaho is beautifully written book but, challenging as it does not move in the direction you expect, it will move you from comfort zone.