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Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir
‘She was almost at the southern end of Hyde Park when she realised that she was running. She slowed down to catch her breath. She wiped the tears from her eyes, but it made no difference as they continued to run freely down her cheeks. This had to be her last trip. She couldn’t do this anymore.’
Snare is the first book in the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy by Icelandic writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir. Set in a Reykjavík, still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, Snare is described as ‘a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot with intriguing characters. An outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller’ and has just been published in English by Orenda Books.
Now how could I not read a book with a description like that?
Reykjavic Noir! Do you now see why I love Orenda Books?
I have been introduced to writers that I would never have come across normally, especially writers from non-English speaking countries. Snare is a novel wonderfully translated by Quentin Bates. It is the first in a trilogy and has already had film rights picked up by Palomar pictures in California.
Lilja Sigurdardottir is an award winning playwright, with novels previously published in Iceland. Snare has been picked up internationally hitting bestseller lists worldwide and I can see why.
A snare is defined as a ‘trap from which it is difficult to escape’In this novel we are introduced to Sonja. Just out of a divorce and with a young son to look after, Sonja finds herself struggling financially. With no means of an income, Sonja takes assistance from someone she thought a friend and soon finds herself caught up in the criminal world of cocaine smuggling. Sonja is gutsy and, though afraid of those she has to deal with, she has a plan. Her son lives with his father, allowing Sonja limited access. Her intention is to make enough money to walk away from the dealers and gain custody of her son full time.
Sonja closely monitors customs as she arrives back into Iceland with her illegal packages. She devises a plan each time to foil the customs officers. But one officer, Bragi, is suspicious of her activity. Bragi has been a customs officer for years and is familiar with every trick the drug mules use. Sonja soon catches his attention. Her methods of smuggling are getting more complex each time but with pressure from the Boss and, with Bragi’s unwanted attention, Sonja soon feels the strain.
In the meantime, her relationship with her on/off girlfriend Agla is quite challenging. Agla has her own difficulties and is in the middle of a banking crisis. Accused of illegal market trading, Agla is in a very stressful situation. Feeling very confused with this new fledgling relationship, Agla has turned to alcohol and brings all her indecision and emotional conflict into their lives.
Snare is a book that moves at a phenomenal pace. With extremely short chapters, the reader experiences the race for time that is Sonja’s. The characters are all portrayed vividly, through the violence of the crime world and the sleazy, corrupted individuals who infest it and to Bragi, a gentle and lonely customs officer with a job to do. It’s very easy to visualise Agla as she struggles to deal with the corruption case that is presented to her. Her anxiety and confusion are palpable off the pages.
Sonja’s characterization is excellent. Her terror and fear jump off the pages. She is foremost a mother who just wants to protect her son and give him the life he deserves. As she continues her struggle to escape the clutches of the snare, she finds herself being dragged down deeper into a very scary world. Without going into detail there is one particular scene that is not for the faint of heart…don’t worry you’ll know when you read it…which you will!
Snare is a novel from a great new voice in crime fiction to reach our shores. I look forward to the next book in the series and to seeing the movie when it reaches the big screen. Fast-paced and pulse-racing, Snare is a novel that will capture your attention completely as you race to the finish.
(c) Swirl and Thread
Order your copy online here.