It is my absolute pleasure to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for the new release from Orenda Books and Lilja Sigurdadottir, Snare. My thanks go to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of the tour. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this true gem of a book in just a moment, but first, let’s take a look at what it is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world.
As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash.
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, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
Oh my. When is something that which should, for all intents and purposes, be so terribly wrong, so absolutely and resolutely right. Well… when it is Snare of course. There is just something about this book which is so compelling, something that from the very beginning drew me in and captured my attention. Something that had me rooting for characters who were so wrong on such a base level, and yet so undeniably sympathetic that you couldn’t help but feel for their plight, regardless of their actions.
Sonia. How do you describe her? She is, first and foremost a mother. One who got caught up in a loveless marriage and a truly messy separation, but one who is devoted to her child. Becuase of that devotion she finds herself caught in ‘the snare’. Stuck trafficking cocaine into Iceland for a man she once trusted to help her. There is no denying that what she is doing is wrong, she knows that, never denies it, but she is caught. Not necessarily your atypical mule, she finds her own method of survival in order to meet her final goal. To break free of the destructive cycle she is in and to reclaim her son from her estranged husband.
Alongside her, and one of the other central characters of the book, is Agla. Again, she is a character you should not like. She is spiky. UNpredictable. Struggling to accept that she may be gay even though she is in a relationship of sorts with Sonia. She is ashamed to accept that label, the stigma. And yet she is quite happy to accept being branded one of teh architects of the banking crash. She is hard to truly sympathise with, and yet I like her anyway. A lot of her scenes take place as part of the investigation into corruption within the banking system and yet it is hard to completely condemn her. Perhaps I didn’t feel as at ease with Agla as I did Sonia, but I think I understood her. I certainly got the gist of what they’d been up to while conning the banks. Crafty little beggars…
And then you have Customs Officer, Bragi. A man who seems to have cottoned onto Sonia’s game. A man who knows she is hiding something. A man who could quite easily bring her world crashing down around her. Theirs is a perfect game of cat and mouse, only one in which the mouse remains, for the most part, blissfully unaware that she is being watched. Despite feeling a strong sympathy for Sonia, and wanting her to find her peace, it was hard to condemn Bragi. He is a man just doing his job after all. And yet you didn’t want him to succeed. Devoted family man and committed to his career though he was, there was just that sense that you wanted the underdog to win, just this once.
And yet… Oh my life. There are several elements of misdirection in this book. Several characters who are not all that they appear and the author has done a brilliant job of throwing in elements of plotting which hit the reader like a literary hand grenade. So many elements which are both shocking and yet simplistically real. Unexpected, sometimes bizarre, and when you read the scene set in London you will fully understand what I mean by that, but all the same fitting of the story.
The pacing in the book is perfect and the translation by Quentin Bates, seamless. Each chapter, short and sharp, propels the reader onward. I am so very happy to know that this is part of a trilogy as I cannot wait to read the next book. It’s so hard to explain why but when you read it, I think you’ll know. The characters were just so carefully crafted, the setting so visual that I could almost feel the chill in the air, the atmosphere at times so tense as Sonia braved customs just one more time, that I could feel my heart beating a very fast and definite rhythm. It was just so very… yes. So wrong, it was right.
A highly recommended read.
My thanks to Orenda Books for providing an advance copy of the book for review. Snare is available now from the following retailers.
About the Author
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. Translation rights have been sold in eight countries to date, and 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 Reykjavík with her partner.
Make sure to check out some of the other brilliant blogs taking part in the tour.