Why Join?

  • Add New Books

  • Write a Review

  • Backpack Reading Lists

  • Newsletter Updates

Join Now

A cracking read set in Reykjavik, ICELAND

30th October 2023

Cold As Hell by Lilja Sigur∂ardottir, a cracking read set in Reykjavik, Iceland.

A cracking read set in Reykjavik, ICELAND

Cold As Hell by Lilja Sigur∂ardottir is the first in a series of Icelandic crime novels, and it’s a cracking read. It’s a real page-turner, with a host of interesting characters and a fascinating glimpse of life in the Icelandic capital. Lilja is in the perfect position to introduce readers to Iceland as a location. She is both a native Icelander and someone who has travelled enough to gain perspective on the country. As a result, she describes the sights, sounds and feel of the country vividly, highlighting its unique geography, its quirky habits and even the smells that a returning Icelander would recognise.

The book begins with an unidentified man grieving over the body of a beautiful woman he loved. But she’s in a suitcase in a crevasse in a lava field. Immediately we’re asking: how did she get there? Who killed her and who is she? Can we presume that he’s her killer? This brief introduction colours our view of the story as it unfolds, because we can’t be sure of the answers. This is where Lilja excels. She taunts us with snippets of information that put doubts in our mind about the characters. We begin to suspect everyone’s motives and jump at shadows. There are enough red herrings to keep an Icelandic trawler in business all year.

The action switches to England where, urged on by her distraught mother, Áróra Jonsdottir reluctantly decides she must return to her native Iceland to search for her sister. Ísafold hasn’t been speaking to her for some time, but now she’s disappeared completely. Áróra agrees to find out where she is. She expects it will be a five-minute drama and packs accordingly. Once back in Reykjavik, it becomes apparent that there’s real cause for concern and Áróra needs to use her investigative skills to discover where her sister might be.

As the drama unfolds there are several characters who appear suspect. Previously Ísafold’s partner, Bjorn, had been violent toward her. Does he know where she is? Then there are the neighbours. Are they helpful but eccentric, or are they hiding seriously dangerous personalities? Áróra seeks help from a family friend, Daníel, who is a policeman, but even he is drawing a blank.

Áróra is distracted from the search by romantic overtures from the handsome Hákon and an attraction to Daníel. She also stumbles on financial irregularities that she knows, as a professional financial investigator, she could investigate. She knows there will be reward money, if she can prove criminal activity. She’s conflicted: can she take on the case and also find her sister? Meanwhile, both the warm and lovely Daníel and the suave Hákon are entranced by this lovely and complicated woman.

This is an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable book. It’s great to know that there are more to come in the series.

Sue for the TripFiction Team

Catch our reviewer Sue on Twitter @SueKelsoRyan and on IG @SueKelosRyan

Join team TripFiction on Social Media:

Twitter (@TripFiction), Facebook (@TripFiction.Literarywanderlust), YouTube (TripFiction #Literarywanderlust), Instagram (@TripFiction) and Pinterest (@TripFiction) and BlueSky(tripfiction.bsky.social)

Subscribe to future blog posts

Latest Blogs

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *