Corporate and official malfeasance make police work just as hot in Iceland as anywhere else on earth.
A drowning victim bobs up in the chilly waters of the fishing village Hvalvík. Even after a tattoo allows station chief Sgt. Gunnhildur Gísladóttir to identify the dead man as Einar Eyjólfur Einarsson, the Spearpoint account manager recently taken off the Hvalvík smelter and given a job testing the chewing-gum market, big questions remain. Did he fall or was he pushed? More to the point, if he fell, how did he first get 100 kilometers from the Reykjavík dinner, where he was last seen seriously drinking, to his watery grave? Gunna and her tiny force—Officer Haddi and whichever auxiliary troops she can beg or borrow—are eager to put the screws on Spearpoint CEO Sigurjóna Huldudóttir and her husband, Environmental Affairs Minister Bjarni Jón Bjarnason, but they seem to be the only government employees who are. Chief Inspector Vilhjálmur Traustason, Gunna’s glorious leader off in Keflavík, keeps telling her to put on the brakes before she steps on too many highly placed toes. Justice Minister Lárus Jóhann Magnússon is even more wary of uncovering a possible conspiracy.
Though Bates is English-born, his blistering debut reads more like an American procedural than the British product, right down to a denouement as acridly unsatisfying as today’s headlines.