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FINDS/Iceland - Cold as Hell by Lilja Sigurðardóttir

FINDS is hosted by AnnaBookBel and the goal is read to read one book per Nordic country during the first five weeks in 2023.

This is a new to me Icelandic author, and this is the first book in her Aróra series.

"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…”

I liked the summary of the story and thus choose this novel for my Icelandic FINDS. It did not really engage me like my favourite Icelandic authors Arnaldur Indriðason and Ragnar Jónasson. The story with the missing sister seems more like a sideline as Áróra flies to Iceland to look for her. She gets involved with an Icelandic criminal. It turn out that she is a private financial investigator so goes into investigating him. She also meet Daniel, a police on holiday, sort of relative who agrees to help her out.

It seems to be less the story of the missing sister as the story of her professional life and her love life. Parallell we follow the neighbour of her sister, a man with a peculiar life. As the story evolves we slowly find out what happened. However, the people who investigate does not get very far with the case. On top of this, the story ends with them finding knowing the sister is dead, (no spoiler since the reader knows this from the very beginning) just to get a hint that Áróra will investigate what really happens in book #2.

A female protagonist who is tough in an unusual business, made me feel this was something I would like. Unfortunately, the story is a little bit too thin to engage me. Maybe it would go along as a story about a young woman with an unusual profession, but hardly as the thrilling Icelandic murder mysteries we are used to.

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