In one sentence, I would describe Until the Ice Cracks as a noir thriller set in a fictional, near future, Nordic city. Im a big fan of Raymond Chandler and I instinctively felt that type of style would work really well for a story set in Scandinavia in fifty years time. The novel is the first volume in a trilogy that in many ways pays homage to the classic, hardboiled detective story in which the uncorrupted detective has to operate within a world that is increasingly revealed as corrupt.
Before I began, I posed the question – what will the world be like in 50 years? I envisaged that climate change would have pushed populations further northwards away from increasingly barren and therefore increasingly unstable countries. With fossil fuels running out, my fictional, multi-ethnic city would continue to prosper on the back of its ‘free’ geothermal power.
The flip side to this would be a desire to defend this wealth. In addition, the criminal cartels would inevitably want their slice of the pie. Technology will have inevitably moved on but things will still break down due to human neglect or error – that’s never going to go away.
My detective, Inspector Nero Cavallo, is hunting a murderous, rogue agent – the initial perpetrator. However, as the plot twists and turns it’s not easy for him to keep sight of who the real criminals are. Throughout, I was interested in exploring how honest people, along with some far less honest ones, might deal with embedded corruption.
Classic noir fiction – especially the cinematic versions – makes much of darkness with its telling accents of light. In more recent Nordic noir fiction, the landscape, like that of my city-state Eldísvík, is always bleakly beautiful. The story I’m telling takes place in winter; those long periods of physical darkness echo the moral darkness threatening the city. That may sound a bit dire, so I have kept the story fast-paced and always entertaining.