A huge thanks to Anne Cater for organising this tour and to Lilja Sigurðardótti and Orenda Books for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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…
One of the things that I love the most about doing blog tours and being part of the blog community is finding new authors who I probably would never have discovered otherwise. Lilja Sigurðardóttir is one of these authors and despite being my first time reading one of her novels, it won’t be my last. Finding out that Cold as Hell is the first in a new series was completely the icing on the cake because I cannot wait to return to Arora and her life. She’s such a compelling and addictive character.
Arora is a finder of lost money and after listening to her mother beg, she travels to Iceland to try and track down her estranged sister Isafold. Lilja has created a very unique and compelling character in Arora. She is intelligent, wily and underneath her exterior she has a big heart but she is also vulnerable and lonely. Whilst learning about her relationship with her sister I felt that she was frustrated by Isafold but also a little jealous of her sister in many ways.
Set mainly in Iceland, it was easy to be sucked into the setting and I really felt as though I had experienced parts of a place I have never visited. There is a stark contrast between the beauty of the place and the dark side of it – mainly through Arora’s interpretations. I also liked the little mentions of Newcastle (as a North-Eastern girl).
The plot moves at an exciting and rapid pace. Short chapters meant one more chapter turned into many more and I just couldn’t put it down. As I delved more into each character I became more immersed in the plot. Initially I thought it was so clear what ha happened but then the more I read the murkier things became, making me constantly second guess and change my predictions.
This is a brilliant start to a new Icelandic crime series and a fabulous new author find for me personally. I cannot recommend this book enough and I eagerly await the next in the series.
Author Bio – 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, her English debut shortlisting 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.