Day two of Lilja Week and our Icelandic Jolabokafloð countdown and today Mandie is sharing her thoughts on Snare by Lilja Sigurðardóttir, book one in the Reykjavik Noir series. Now this book was a big hit with me when I first read it a few years back, and it has one of the most unusual supporting characters I have ever come across in, what is actually, a book with quite a serious subject matter. If you want to know what I thought then you can find out my thoughts here, or read on to find out more about the book and what Mandie thought.
About the Book
After a messy divorce, young mother Sonja 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 Sonja 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.
Snare is the first in the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy and as it has taken me so long to read this (sorry Lilja) it does mean that I also don’t have to wait to read books two and three and shall be heading off to read them very soon.
Sonja has found herself caught in the trap of smuggling drugs into Iceland after she could not pay her lawyers fees following a decidedly messy divorce. She hates what she is doing but doesn’t know how to escape, wanting truly to just to be a mother to her son and be able to provide for him. The fact that despite several trips she has yet to be caught mainly down to her pre planning although she has caught the eye of Bragi, a senior customs officer. He is initially unable to prove anything, but he just knows something is not right.
There is also another story being told that has a bearing on Sonja in more ways than you can imagine as it involves both her ex-husband Adam and Agla, the woman she is in a sort of relationship with. Not only is Agla the reason that Sonja ended her marriage but she also worked at the same bank as Adam, and they are both currently under investigation for their part in the corruption within the Icelandic banking system which leads to some very tense moments.
I had an equal amount of sympathy and admiration for Sonja. She was caught in something that was not of her doing and her efforts to escape from that life were thwarted at every turn, yet she was gutsy and imaginative and never actually gave up hope that one day she would once again gain custody of her son and she could go back to a normal way of life. She was also very aware of what she had given up to be with Alga but at the same time was prepared to walk away for the sake of her son if she needed to.
I was not sure about Agla, on the face of it she seemed to be quite hard, accepting her fate over the banking scandal, at no point apologising for what she had done, yet she was very insecure about her relationship with Sonja wanting to be with her but struggling to admit to herself what that really meant.
This is quite an interesting read bringing very much to the forefront the human element of drug smuggling from the perspective of the people forced to do it that may just challenge your ideas the next time you see a report in the news. There was one part that had me cringing a bit but also made me smile as it made me think of my dogs and their eating habits. The short chapters and twists make the book fly by and will leave you wanting to find out what is in store for Sonja.
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, including Snare and Trap, the first two books in the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.
Books by Lilja Siguardóttir