Mads Peder Nordbo – Cold Fear

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Mads Peder Nordbo – Cold Fear

After his first investigation in Greenland, Matthew Cave has remained on the Danish island. There are still a lot of questions around his family he would like to have answered. Now, the story goes back to the year 1990 when Matt’s father Tom was stationed at an American military base on Greenland to carry out revolutionary medical tests. They managed to develop a pill which could make the body support cold temperatures much longer – a definite advantage in the cold north. Yet, this did not come without side effects and then something went totally wrong. Matt thought his father had died in that spring but he has already figured out that he must have survived somehow since Matt unexpectedly has found out that he has a younger sister. When he starts to investigate what happened on that military base almost 25 years before, he suddenly hits a hornet’s nest and puts himself and his sister in danger.

I already liked the first book in the series about the Danish journalist where the basis for this second novel was laid. Where I found “The Girl Without Skin” a bit creepier and more spine-chilling, “Cold Fear” is much more a spy novel which convinced me with a complex plot and repeated moments of highest suspense. Additionally, again, Nordbo provides insight in the Greenland culture and traditions of which I hardly know anything and which I found as disturbing as interesting.

It is not easy to sum up or briefly retell what “Cold Fear” is all about, there simply is too much and this really demands all your attention while reading. The plot certainly is strongest when political and societal aspects are touched – not just since we have seen the USA repeat their claims of the island this year. As Greenland is located so far away, we are highly ignorant about the different people who settled there and especially their mutual regard or rather disregard which becomes a lot clearer while reading.

However, what enchanted me most were the characters. From a psychological point of view, it is easy to comprehend why they act the way they do and how they developed into the person we meet in the novel. Most powerful are the female characters for me since all of them grow-up under the harshest circumstances and what they have to go through does not remain without trace.

Among the masses of Scandinavian crime novel, undoubtedly one that stands out.

Mads Peder Nordbo – The Girl Without Skin

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Mads Peder Nordbo – The Girl Without Skin

Journalist Matthew has left his Danish home after with wife and their unborn daughter died in an accident. In Greenland he tries to make a new start. When an old, in ice conserved body is found, he believes to have found the story of his life: a new iceman just like Ötzi might be the scoop of his career. But it soon turns out that the body isn’t several hundred but only forty years old. His first deception leads him to old Greenland murder cases that were never solved. Four men had been killed and sliced open. When he starts to investigate, he doesn’t know what kind of hornets’ nests he is stirring up with his questions.

At first, “The Girl Without Skin” attracted me since the description sounded like a typical Scandinavian thriller set in the Greenland ice. As it turns out, there is much more to it than just brutal murders that need to be unravelled. Apart from the suspense and the clever story about these long time unsolved cases, it gives insight in a hardly known culture and the way the small community works – which is even worse than any of the violent killings.

I liked how the story slowly unfolds, one thing leads to another and you end up somewhere completely other than expected. All steps are well motivated and the highly complex case is solved satisfactorily. There is just one aspect that was a pity a bit: the protagonists, the Danish journalist, and his Greenlandic female helper resembled by far too much Stieg Larsson’s characters. The fearless investigative reporter who is eagerly ready to risk his life for a story and the inscrutable tattooed woman who is said to be a murderer and who easily hacks into official and highly protected computers – we have read that before. However, the parallels did not diminish any of the story’s appeal and suspense.