**Winner: Best Icelandic Crime Novel of the Year**
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 bestselling crime writers.
Karen, you’ve only gone and done it again! Another amazing Orenda read…
Lots of reviewers have commented on the way that Cold as Hell has absolutely blown them away – and that is exactly right. It’s got touches of so many of my favourite genres: it’s set in Iceland so it’s got many of the chillingly atmospheric details that I love as well as a set of sisters as the main characters which is a feature that I really enjoyed. Add all of that together and consider the fact that it also features the midnight sun – and I was absolutely sold, right from the get-go…
The main character Áróra is someone that you won’t easily forget and I quickly became caught up in her story. She’s a character that dares you rather than begs you to care for her and I got completely drawn into her story all the more because of her complexities and challenges. She is a driven and intelligent woman who will let nothing – not even internal corruption and family secrecy – stand in the way of securing her sister’s safety and I was absolutely gripped by her dogged determination to work through the half-truths and evasions and get to the heart of the matter- whatever the cost.
The fact that her family and neighbours’ roles in this mystery are not quite as clear cut as you might wish added a disturbing, dark and addictive element to this novel that was satisfyingly chilling and definitely not for the faint-hearted. Through the mystery we get insights into wider societal themes such as abusive relatioships, the refugee crisis and the fragmentations within families that I thought added real depth to this novel that made it stand out head and shoulders above your more run of the mill ‘missing persons’ mysteries and gave it a really atmospheric and zeitgeist-y feel that added to its addictive nature.
Many novels in this genre are all plot and display a real disregard for the writing itself. Not so Lilja Sigurdardóttir, her writing is precise and elegant showing a real talent for spinning beauty out of bleakness and hollow emptiness. The sections of the novel which describe the Icelandic settings stood out for me as some of the most chillingly beautiful that I’ve encountered in this genre and made me turn the pages ceaselessly to journey with Áróra into the long dark night of the soul and try and get to the bottom of all the secrecy and lies surrounding her sister’s disappearance as well as the corruption and deceit that are making it so difficult to make any headway in this case.
The sure touch that Sigurdardóttir brings to the Icelandic crime genre makes for a satisfying, gripping and harrowing read that drew me in completely. I can’t wait for Mr OnTheShelf to finish reading it so we can go over elements of it together as I found its unique atmosphere and added financial crime element to be extremely compelling The fact that he’s also engrossed speaks volumes as he’s not generally a fiction reader and Cold As Hell had him as gripped as I was.
I have absolutely no doubt that in Áróra I’ve found a new female protagonist that I’ll be telling absolutely everyone about and I’ll definitely be looking out for the sequel. Cold As Hell looks at evil in a unique and memorable way and the quality of writing makes it hard to put down. Particular mention to the translator Quentin Bates who fully evokes the wonderful country it’s set in and makes me want to visit more than ever
#TeamOrenda have rounded up a series of amazing bloggers for this novel and I’m honoured to be opening it for them Check out the #BlogTour poster to see who else is creating the buzz around Cold As Hell
Make sure that you order your own copy and find out how much you didn’t know about Icelandic crime yourself…
“fans of Nordic noir will find plenty to like.” —Publishers Weekly on Trap
“[A] lively conclusion…Fans already invested in this Nordic crime series will race through the pages.”– Publishers Weekly on Cage
“A taut, gritty, thoroughly absorbing journey into Reykjavik’s underworld.” —Booklist on Snare
“Prime binge-reading.” —Booklist on Trap
“Sigurðardóttir knows how to ratchet up the tension…[Trap] is a worthy addition to the icy-cold crime genre popularized by Scandinavian noir novels.” —Foreword Reviews on Trap
“Thriller of the year.” —New York Journal of Books on Snare
“Tough, uncompromising and unsettling.” –Val McDermid on Betrayal
“With its clever plot and brisk, tight pace, this hard-to-put-down Nordic thriller will be a treat for crime fiction fans.” —Library Journal on Snare –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
Writer on the Shelf
Lilja Sigurðardóttir is an Icelandic crime-writer and playwright, born in 1972. She is the author of four crime novels, Steps (Spor), 2009, Forgiveness (Fyrirgefning), 2010, Snare (Gildran) 2015, Tangle (Netið) 2016 and Cage (Búrið) 2017.
Her debut stage-play Big Babies (Stóru Börnin) was staged in the winter of 2013-2014, became critically acclaimed and won the Icelandic Theatre Prize Gríman as “Best play of the year.”
Follow her on Twitter @Lilja1972