Oh how I love an Icelandic thriller! There is something wonderful about this country that lends itself perfect for many a gripping read and Cold As Hell is most certainly a gripping read! Written in short chapters, we follow Áróra as she somewhat reluctantly sets off to try and find her estranged sister Ísafold at their mother’s insistence. The girls have had a difficult relationshop, worsening as they have grown and Áróra is frankly sick of always trying to pick up the pieces and help her sister get her life together. In her mind, Ísafold needs to get herself sorted and make some self preservation decisions, but she doesn’t and seems incapable of changing. However, despite being annoyed about being cajoled into travelling to hunt for her sister, when she gets to Iceland Áróra finds herself mixed up with a few unusual and potentially suspicious people. A simple trip is no longer quite so simple.
Cold as Hell is a great read because the characters are interesting and the story line keeps you guessing with hints and suggestion but always leaving a little shred of doubt and mystery about what is going on. The story takes place over a short time but I felt like it was flying by because of the chapter length and also the movement between different threads of the story. There are definitely some difficult subjects addressed but nothing is written that is gratuitous and each part has a reason for being there to move the story forwards.
I am thrilled to see that this will not be the first time that we meet Áróra. She is a smart driven woman who has made a career for herself without depending on others to lay out the path for her. I really look forward to finding out more about her background as I feel we only just got to the first layer or so. It feels like there is a lot more to uncover and I look forward to doing so!
Cold as Hell is perfect for the days when you want to go on a journey without leaving the room. A bleak landscape, an incredible female lead and plenty of mystery – what more do you need?
About Lilja Sigurðardóttir: Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurðardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger and hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Trap soon followed suit, with the third in the trilogy Cage winning the Best Icelandic Crime Novel of the Year, and was a Guardian Book of the Year. Lilja’s standalone Betrayal, was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja is also an award-winning screenwriter in her native Iceland. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.
You can follow Lilja on Twitter @lilja1972