Thank you all for coming by to check out my review as part of the Snare Blog Tour hosted by Orenda Books. Branching out into Scandinavian Noir is something I have been constantly trying to do. Reading crime stories set within other countries is incredibly interesting, just look at Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski 😀 Lilja Sigurdardóttir is a new author for me but I will certainly be coming back for more. Enjoy the review and read the book. Also check out the other blogs taking part in the tour!
Sent to me by Orenda Books in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: 01/10/17
Publisher: Orenda Books
Format: Paperback, 276pp
Summed up in a word: Entrapment
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 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, for me, was rare and exciting foray into a relatively new genre in my repertoire. Scandinavian (Icelandic) Noir is not my usual choice but I was excited to give it a go. Lilja Sigurdardóttir’s Snare is a story of great risk and even greater love. There is so much going on in this short but bold thriller but Sonja’s love for her son Tómas shines brightest and I read in the hope of a happy ending for them both! I highly recommend to all crime/noir/thriller lovers who like a change of setting and a heartfelt tale of overcoming unrelenting obstacles at any cost.
Sonja is trapped in an endless cycle. Caught in a financial snare laid out elaborately by her divorce lawyer. Sonja is working as a drug smuggler to pay off her debt and arrange her freedom and the end is in sight. But Bragi, a local airport customs officer, is onto Sonja and her system of avoidance. He is close to retirement and wants to go out with a bang, bringing down a successful drug runner is his chance for recognition. Sonja must keep her nerve and stay ahead of the game if she ever wants to be with her son again. Nothing will get in the way of their future. Gangsters, police, ex-husbands and airport security be damned!
I thought Sonja’s story was not only hectic and tense but fantastically sincere. All she wants in her life is her son Tómas and a life where they can be together, but throughout the novel she is stuck between her future and demise. The story is told from multiple perspectives, including Tómas and Agla (Sonja’s lover), but mainly from Sonja and Bragi’s POV. Their cat and mouse pursuit forms the main plot and the suspense element of the novel. There is also two sub-plots surround Agla, centred around the Icelandic financial crisis and Agla’s confused love for Sonja, that tie in with the main narrative. As I said before, there is so much going on with this novel. I believe it is going to be a series so I am looking forward to seeing how Lilja is going to develop these characters in future stories.
Lilja’s writing was spot on. An Icelandic pragmatic coolness blended with bursts emotional angst and frustration, as well as pulse-racing moments, makes for a captivating read. Themes surrounding homosexuality, corruption, family, blackmail and violence keep the reader on edge. Lilja was right to dangle fragile hope in front of me as it kept me reading all the way to an intense conclusion. I also like the fact that Lilja set this novel during the Icelandic financial crisis, post eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, both the hard times and the residual ash accentuates the turmoil the characters are in. There is a lot to grab the reader in Snare. I really enjoyed the insights into the drug smuggling culture; both the dynamics and tension that surrounded Sonja both put me on edge and intrigued me too.
My issues with this book are somewhat conditional. If there are more instalments due then I have to say this is a cracking opening novel that sets a gripping tone for the series. If it is in fact a standalone then I don’t think the conclusion was solid enough. Too many loose ends. The main cast are at times are quite divisive too. There are elements to appreciate and dislike about every character in this novel. Sonja’s quest for freedom is honourable but she is not exactly perfect in either a moral or ethical sense. Bragi wants the best for his wife and isn’t ready to move on from his career which I can appreciate, but he is also a tricky character who becomes obsessive and over-the-top. Agla is quite a testing character for many reasons, including her guilt and love/contempt for Sonja, and she is a great source of conflict for all readers. Each character brings a different atmosphere to the novel but can also be troublesome for the reader to fully connect with, in my opinion.
Overall I am glad I got the chance to read Snare. It was a sharp edged suspense/thriller novel with a healthy dose of Scandinavian Noir to take it to another level. It was challenging at times to connect with the cast but I like where Lilja is taking each individual story line. I am hoping this will be a series, if so then bring on book two.
About Lilja Sigurdardóttir
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 Reykjavík with her partner.