Friday, May 30, 2014

COLD COMFORT by Quentin Bates

Quentin Bates' Cold Comfort has at least four story lines.

--Newly-promoted Sergeant Gunnhilder (Gunna) Gisladottir and her crew search for an escaped killer. He escaped his low-security prison a year before he was to be paroled. Gunna wonders why.

--Someone kills a washed up TV personality who is now a high-priced prostitute. She caters to a consortium of four rich, influential men who share her services.

--The investigation of the prostitute's murder leads to a back story, a murder ten years ago.

--And finally another murder (tied to Iceland's collapsing economy) occurs.

Iceland's economy collapsed. People lost jobs and houses. Businesses went bankrupt. Families broke apart because of financial and other kinds of stress.

Gunna's salary remains the same despite her promotion. Her department, the whole police establishment, is understaffed. The police are using rented cars. Someone attacks Gunna.

All this makes for a complex story. I read this book on the Kindle. The Kindle has a feature called x-ray which makes it possible to identify any character on a page. Some books use this feature, some don't.

Unfortunately, this book didn't use the feature. Keeping track of all the characters and of the complex plot became a chore.

Two characters fascinated me—Gunna and a sad character who committed murder because of his financial distress.

Cold Comfort was a traditional police procedural set in a stressful time. The book reflected much of what people in other stressed countries went through too. That's what interested me the most.

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