As soon as I was invited to review White as Snow I knew without a doubt I wanted to read this Icelandic crime noir. I was so taken away with the dark, gritty description of this novel, that I have to admit that I completely missed that White as Snow is actually part of a bestselling series. Although annoyed at my own remiss mistake, I still thoroughly enjoyed this powerful taut novel. It also made me really intrigued about the previous two books in the Áróra Investigation series – so much so, I have now bought them. 🙂
Although I hadn’t read the prequels, I was quickly immersed in the plot of White as Snow. As well as being a sinister compelling story, I felt the narration easy to follow. I think this is partly down to the excellent translation from Icelandic to English by Quentin Bates.
White as Snow by best selling crime writer Lilja Sigurðardóttir tackles some harrowing subject matter in a very respectful and sensitive manner, that is also very compelling. When the bodies of five young women are found inside an abandoned shipping container, police detective Daniel is shocked to the core. All the women are dead bar one; Bisi is found with a faint pulse. She appears to have been kept alive due to the warmth from the pile of corpses her body is in the midst of. Alongside his colleague Helena, Daniel dedicates himself to finding the people who committed this cold bloodied atrocity; all the while keeping Bisi safe as the police detectives know that if it is discovered she has survived, Bisi will be hunted down and killed.
As well as being tense and scary, I found this novel to be extremely moving, particularly as some of the plot is told from Bisi’s point of view. It is frightening how easily she becomes a victim of international sex trafficking. Bisi is such a warm, intelligent character and from her point of view we are told the horrific, cold bloodied acts the traffickers will commit, especially when their inhumane actions don’t go to plan.
An aspect of the plot that I particularly really enjoyed is the personal lives of the police officers, especially Daniel’s. It is interesting how Daniel juggles being a dedicated, workaholic police officer as his children, on the brink of becoming teenagers, come and stay with him from Denmark where they now live with his ex wife. And I so want to know more about Daniel’s lodger, drag artist Lady Gúgúlú. She seems fab!
Daniel’s backstory also appears to be romantically entwined with the character of Áróra who it seems is the main protagonist of the whole series. The sexual tension between these two characters, who are both vulnerable and have such respect for each other, is so alluring. This is a key reason why I am so eager to read the prequels to White as Snow, as well as the forthcoming books in the series.
In fact I am keen to read more from Lilja Sigurðardóttir. Especially as I am a big fan of crime noir. I was excited to discover that the film rights for Lilja’s other crime series, The Reykjavik Noir trilogy have been bought Palomar Pictures in California. I definitely want to read this series before it comes to the big screen!
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour of White as Snow and introducing me to another excellent crime series. To follow the blog tour, please see below.