Source: Review copy
Publication: 18TH October 2018 from Orenda Books
Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.
Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.
Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
Happy paperback publication day to the fabulous Lilja Sigurðardóttir.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways (with sincere apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height of thy story telling ability. This is a cracker of a story which plays out with just the right degree of mishap, tense action and manipulative behaviour to keep the reader transfixed and always intrigued.
I love thee for thy strong women of all shapes, sizes and abilities. From incredibly astute women to the brave in the face of adversity women, to the women who really should know better, to the evil woman behind the evil man, these are women who stand up to be counted and who make a difference, even if it’s not always in the direction they wanted.
I love thee for thy humour, from the humour of grotesque violence to the brilliant chopsticks and fork comparison; who knew a book about dodgy financial dealings and drug trafficking could bring so many smiles to my face.
But mostly, I just love thee for having written this brilliant series which sparkles like an iceberg in the sun.
For the new reader, start with Snare, the first book in this terrific series and a great read in its own right. Trap follows on from Snare as we find Sonja only temporarily safe from the clutches of her rather horrible husband, Adam and sheltering in the USA with her son, Tomas. That shelter is short lived as Adam’s thugs are sent to get Sonja and Tomas and unceremoniously bundle them home to Iceland.
From there, things only get worse for Sonja. Deprived of her son, forced to re-enter the drug smuggling game and then sandwiched between the brutal Adam and the remorseless and very creepy Mr Jose, Sonja feels her options are none too clever.
Mr Jose, whom we first met in Snare, and whose questionable taste in house pets always has Sonja on edge, also has a partner and if Sonja thinks she’s badly off now, there’s a whole lot of worse trouble headed her way as her London visits turn very nasty indeed.
Sigurdardottir is excellent at building a very real climate of fear and her violence is the street violence of the drugs lord gangster; swift, brutal and decisive.
Alongside this element of her plot, we also learn a great deal more about the financial astuteness of Agla, a woman who can run financial rings round her colleagues and whose knowledge, though it has already brought her trouble, is still good enough to allow her to draw the odd rabbit from her hat. Never has she needed that ability as much as she does now. Cornered and in debt, she looks for ways to get free, but it is Sonja’s plight that finally unleashes the tiger in her and allows her to conceive a plan that may just work for both of them.
I like Sonja and in this book I really began to like Agla too, for all her needy behaviour. Sigurdardottir has built in so many close calls for her characters that you are never quite prepared for what’s going to come next, so it just as well that the women can think on the move. Sonja’s relationship with Bragi, the elderly Customs Officer waiting for retirement and determined that his first priority will always be his ailing wife ,also makes for a convincing and all too human character. It is not possible to feel anything but sympathy for Bragi and his situation, whatever the rights and wrongs of his actions.
Sigurdardottir has a very canny ability to paint her picture in shades of grey. Whilst it’s easy to work out who the real gangsters are, when it comes to the top level financial mis-dealings, there’s a rot somewhere in the highest echelons that someone does not want uncovered and woe betide the staff in the Prosecutor’s office who are not astute enough to work that out.
I like that about this series; that feeling that however dig you deep, you will never quite get to the bottom of Iceland’s financial banking scandal and the lingering feeling that not only is there more to uncover, but perhaps there are dodgy dealings still going on? Sigurdardottir leaves that possibility hanging in the air, making this a rather fascinating and brilliantly edgy look at contemporary Icelandic society.
This is such a good series on a number of levels. I need these characters back in my life soon, please.
Verdict: I can’t count the number of ways I love this series. Just brilliant.
About Lilja Sigurðardóttir
Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir 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, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavik with her partner.
Follow Lilja on Twitter @Lilja1972
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