Welcome to the Nudge stop on the blog tour for Trap by Lilja Sigurdardottir!
Here’s a little info about the book:
Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.
Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.
With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi, on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…
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, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
And a brief biography of author Lilja Sigurdardottir:
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. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.
And now for Paul Burke’s review of Trap:
Sigurdardottir distils 180 proof noir, infused with traditional Scandinavian spices, a gritty texture and a bitter sweet finish. Of course, this novel is neither a finish nor a beginning, it’s the middle volume of a trilogy that will turn out to be a ‘must read’ for lovers of Nordic noir. There are two major factors that make Trap stand out in a crowded field. First, it’s moody realism; you can believe this story comes from the street of Reykjavik and is about real people. Real people very well defined and rounded, with problems in their lives not all related to being caught up in crime – there is an emotional depth to their stories that make this a superior read. Secondly, universality, sorry, horrible word, but Trap is an unusual Icelandic novel in that this story could be set anywhere. It has a very distinct setting but it doesn’t rely on that for its truth, although of course, one of the major themes here is the role of Icelandic banks in the financial collapse of 2008. Many Icelandic novels play on the landscape and weather, creating a sense of a vast wilderness (despite the fact that this is a small island). Sigurdardottir draws more on a world view, and has an international flavour. Trap is a pacy thriller that will have you taking sides early on, so you will be invested in the story. It may keep you up at night, it will get the heart racing.
As this is part of a trilogy, the first novel Snare is excellent by the way, I would steer you towards reading that first. Ultimately, the triptych will be a richer reading experience than any single novel. However, you will be able to follow the story perfectly well if you don’t read Snare. The rest of this paragraph is a brief recap. Sonja has lost a custody battle over her son, Tómas, to her drug dealer husband, Adam. She has been smuggling drugs into Iceland and having a relationship with another woman, Agla, a bank executive under investigation by a special prosecutor following the financial crash.
Trap takes up the story in Florida. The problem with being on the run is complacency, feeling safe, because Sonja has the kind of past it’s hard to escape. She fled to America from Iceland with her son, Tómas, her husband Adam got custody so he’s coming for them. Sonja has money she siphoned off the drug deals she was involved in, she’s keeping a low profile hiding out on a trailer park in Florida (the rule is don’t leave any trace). Tómas should be with the neighbour but their little boy says he’s down on the beach talking to some men. Sonja sees Tómas trussed up in a car, she attacks one of the men guarding him but is soon strapped up next to Tómas (he couldn’t resist messaging his dad about his dog). Adam tells Sonja she come back with them to Iceland or never see her son again.
Agla is missing Sonja, her world is a haze of booze and drugs. She checks the AGK Cayman account it’s a mess. The special prosecutor still has a case going against her and she owes Ingimar a lot of money – he’s not a man to let down, but he offers her a way to pay off her debt. Adam won’t trust Sonja with Tómas alone. She is desperate to get her son back, she needs money, a plan and some loyal friends if that is going to happen. She has little choice when she returns to Reykjavik than to turn to Agla for help.
Sonja is trapped in a world of drug dealing and smuggling, of corrupt bankers and money laundering. She has people she can rely on but she is going to have to cross and manipulate some very dangerous people if she is ever to get out from under. Sonja is a resourceful woman, a resilient character, a mother and a lover. But this is a grey world, the murky underbelly of society, a place of secrets and few rules. Trap is brutally real, the terse writing keeps the pace lively. This novel explores the weight of the financial crisis on the current state of Iceland, both the economy and the pysche. Ordinary people were saddled with terrible problems following the actions of a few bankers (sound familiar?). Trap is a novel of survival, there’s a lot back stabbing and scheming, it’s about self-preservation. Clinging to a vestige of decency in a screwed up world. Lilja Sigurdardottir is the real deal, one of the reasons Icelandic crime fiction punches well above its weight. There is also a pronunciation guide at the front of the novel should you feel brave enough to give it a go. Superbly translated by Quentin Bates, who knows the language, people and crime writing intimately.
Paul Burke 5/4
Trap by Lilja Sigurdardottir
Orenda Books 9781912374359 pbk Oct 2018
Our thanks to Lilja Sigurdardottir, Orenda Books and Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting Nudge to participate in this blog tour.