** advanced copy received via publisher **
I’m thrilled to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir today. Many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for inviting me and for the advanced copy.
Author : Lilja Sigurdardottir (translated by Quentin Bates)
Title : Snare
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 12, 2017
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.
Ah, Scandi-Noir! We meet once more and again, you didn’t let me down. Snare is one superb tense ride, centred around three characters who all find themselves trapped one way or another.
After a messy divorce, Sonja loses custody of her son. When we first meet her, she’s smuggling drugs into the country. But there’s more to her situation than meets the eye. It becomes clear quite early on that she’s not exactly a willing participant but is finding it hard to escape the hold the vicious criminal world has on her.
Then there’s Bragi, a customs officer. Close to retirement, he refuses to stop working because he has nothing to go home to since he had to make the tough decision of placing his wife in a care home. Bragi has years of experience and is keen to show the young recruits how it’s done so when his instincts tell him Sonja is up to no good, he’s like a dog with a bone.
And finally we have Agla, a bank executive, who’s under investigation in the aftermath of the financial crisis in Iceland. She and Sonja have an incredibly complicated relationship. Agla carries a lot of guilt and shame with her which may just force her to sacrifice herself in order to protect a secret she’s not willing to face up to.
The setting in Iceland works like a charm with its cold, dark and rather short days. It really adds to the level of tension and the threatening vibe, especially in combination with the ashes from the erupted volcano with the difficult name falling from the sky depending on how the wind blows.
What really got me though, were the moments when Sonja was at the airport. I’m a nervous wreck when I have to fly and go through security, even though I know I’m not doing anything wrong! Sonja, however, comes across as completely cool and collected, able to fool just about anyone. I found myself in this odd situation of barely being able to breathe until she made it out safely.
The author has created some brilliant characters and even though Sonja is basically a criminal in her own right, I felt for her and truly liked her. She’s just an ordinary woman who finds herself in extraordinary circumstances, who realises she’s way smarter than she thought and capable of things she never even considered. Especially when it relates to her son, who is always her first priority.
Snare is utterly chilling, compelling and incredibly original. With a brilliantly executed plot and characters you shouldn’t really sympathise with but somehow do, I was completely enthralled. Full of suspense and intrigue, this crime story about love and revenge had me hooked from start to finish.
I can’t possibly leave out the amazing translation by Quentin Bates. At no point did I ever feel I wasn’t reading the original version. This is a fantastic addition to my ever-growing Scandi-Noir shelf and I very much look forward to more by Lilja Sigurdardottir.
Snare is available now!
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 Reykjavik with her partner.