Thursday, 5 October 2017

Books Read: Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir

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.

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Thanks to Orenda Books I have been introduced to some fantastic Nordic Noir books over the last couple of years, and having just finished reading Lilja Sugurdardottir's Snare I can say that this was right up there with the rest.

Snare follows our main protagonist Sonja as she is attempting to break away from the shackles of the sinister underworld she has found herself in following her bitter divorce from her banker husband Adam.  She had thought that she would be a stay at home mum looking after her young son Tomas, instead she finds herself being a two weekends a month mum and working as a courier smuggling drugs back into Iceland to earn money.  With each trip she hopes that this will be the final delivery to pay off her 'debt' and earn her enough to go back to court to get full-time custody but despite all of her best efforts it never seems to be enough especially when her 'employers' threaten and put pressure on her through her young son.

As the story progressed you could really feel the fear, pain and helplessness that Sonja found herself in with every trip, the tension built as you're left wondering is this the time when she's going to be caught out and be thrown to the wolves by the criminal masterminds that she's working for.  My heart was in my mouth every time she collected her luggage and walked through customs under the ever watchful eye of Bragi.  It's hard to even imagine how an attractive young mum found herself in this position in the first place but as the story progresses and you learn more about the set up, you discover who is behind it all and it begins to make sense.

Running parallel to the main storyline is a thread featuring the investigation into financial irregularities following the financial crisis in Iceland which involves Sonja's ex-husband and her girlfriend Alga who works with him.  Adam will do whatever it takes to ensure that he is not held responsible for any misdemeanours that are uncovered and doesn't care who he has to step on to get out of the spotlight. He really was an odious character that I didn't warm to at all, it  was hard to see what good qualities he must have had in the past to make Sonja fall in love with him when they were younger.

As you would expect in a story featuring the criminal underworld, the characters that Sonja comes into contact with are a nasty bunch and definitely not the type of people you'd want to cross.  I really felt for Sonja with each meeting that she had to deal with these unsavoury characters and found myself rooting for her as she tried to come up with plans to make her escape from this seedy life once and for all...

Snare was brilliantly translated by Quentin Bates, an accomplished writer of Nordic Noir himself, which made this story flow seamlessly throughout the pages until the perfect ending.  I thoroughly enjoyed my first venture into the writing of Lilja Sigurdardottir and look forward to reading more books from her in the future.

I'd like to thank Anne Cater and Orenda Books for my eCopy of Snare and inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

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