Published by Soho Crime on May 10th 2014
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.