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  • Title: Cage
  • Author: Lilja Sigurdardóttir
    Translator: Quentin Bates
  • Publisher: Orenda Books
  • Publication Date: 17th October 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.

Description:

The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence ends, but her lover Sonja is not there to meet her.

As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the world, Agla and her former nemesis, María find the stakes being raised at a terrifying speed.

Ruthless drug baron Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own home.

At the same time, a deadly threat to Sonya and her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if she wants to stay alive.

With a shocking crescendo, the lives of these characters collide, as drugs, smuggling, big money and political intrigue rally with love, passion, murder and betrayal until the winner takes all … in the masterful, explosive conclusion to the award-winning Reykjavík Noirtrilogy.

My Thoughts:

Cage is another stunning offering from Lilja Sigurdardóttir, cementing her place in my mind as one of THE names in Icelandic crime writing. This is also the final book in the Reykjavik trilogy, the previous two being Trap and Snare, and I would highly recommend checking them out if you’re not familiar with them.

It’s no surprise that Iceland Noir is a firm favourite of mine, especially with books of this calibre. The plot is engaging, the characters are impressive and the adrenaline fuelled frenzy that has you turning pages makes this such a punchy and thrilling read.

Although Sonia has been the key character in this series, I could not help but feel a great interest in Agla, her lover. In Cage, readers follow Agla as she faces her final months in prison for financial crimes. We see her adjust to a vastly different life to the one she had previously, and her subsequent release from prison brings more issues as she adapts to life on parole … but the chance to settle old scores and flex her intellect as she tries to unravel a mystery that places danger at the doorstep of an acquaintance, as well as brings her face to face with someone from her past.

As always, Sigurdardóttir manages to deftly weave current hot topics into the narrative of her work, offering readers an opportunity to view them from a different perspective and provides a great basis for topical discussion. She portrays events with an open honesty, showing the inescapable drug world, the dangerous links between the hierarchies of the bosses, mules and victims. But more than this, Sigurdardóttir expands on ideas of cultural unrest, migration, and the struggles of coming to age so masterfully that emotion is evoked in the reader, leaving them feeling anger, upset, shock on behalf of the characters involved.

Her style of writing pitches the perfect pace to keep readers turning pages, eagerly trying to find out what will happen next, to see how events will link up and what fates will befall the various characters.
The development of the characters throughout the series, as well as in the individual books, is superb to see. Witnessing Agla’s fall from grace, Sonia’s turmoil, Ingimar’s ruthlessness, all adds to the gripping storyline and brings these characters to life. Readers begin to connect with them in a way, not always liking them, but certainly feeling some form of a connection towards them and at times I admit, that I did feel sympathy towards certain ones.

There is no doubt for me that Cage is an electrifying read, packed with emotion and touching moments that grab the reader, but it also leaves them feeling the creeping Icelandic chill that gets under their skin and has them desperate for more books from this author!

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** My thanks to the wonderful Karen Sullivan for my copy of this book and Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

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.

My Thoughts & Review:

Trap is the second book in the Reykjavík Noir series by Lilja Sigurdardóttir, and it’s unapologetically brilliant. It’s sharp and clever and displays the high level of excellence that fans of Sigurdardóttir have come to expect from her writing.

The writing is evocative, and teeming with detail and atmosphere. Readers get a real feel for the situations that both Sonja and Agla find themselves in, the danger feels so imposing, the fear is almost claustrophobic.
If I thought that Sonja was a great character in the previous book, Snare, then Sigurdardóttir has well and truly made a character that I love and dare I admit it, admire. Her determination to get out of the jam she’s in really impressed me, her tenacity and stubbornness were great to see and I felt that I was almost cheering for her at times. Agla, I really felt for at times. I wanted to shake her, I wanted to laugh with her and I wanted to yell at her. How is it an author can create characters that we shouldn’t like, but still feel sympathy towards? That’s the skill of this author, she can draw strong emotions from the reader with ease. The character that really tugged on my heartstrings was Sonja’s son Tomas. He is a child stuck between divorced parents, adores his mother and wants to be with her, not his father. The complexities of adult relationships are beyond his comprehension, the whys and hows of his current situation only lead to frustration.

A financial investigation thread to the plot is fascinating, seeing how Agla and others planned to work the system is mindbogglingly clever and I applaud Sigurdardóttir for taking something so complex and making it understandable.

Packed with tension, this is a book that you do not want to put down. Short chapters make it far too easy for you to fall into the trap of reading “just one more chapter”, and before you know it, the supper is burnt or it’s 3am and sleep is something you can’t contemplate until you know what’s going to happen next. It’s the sort of book that you can imagine playing out like a film, and the quality of the writing means that it sweeps you away with a momentum akin to jumping into a vortex.

I absolutely cannot wait to see what book three of the series has instore for readers, but I’ll perhaps lay off the caffeine before it comes out so I don’t feel so jumpy and on edge as Sigurdardóttir casts her icy Icelandic spell on me!

 

Trap First BT Poster

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SNARE new front cover

** My thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my copy of this wonderful book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

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. 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.

My Thoughts & Review:

When you pick up any book in the Scandi Noir genre you’re instantly looking for something that will blow you away, something that will chill you to your core (more the weather conditions than the plot but if the plot is good enough, it can certainly have that impression on you), but most of all you’re hoping for an exceptionally written book that leaves you with an intense book hangover.  Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir is all of the above, and then some!

Readers first meet the main character Sonja as she is smuggling drugs into Iceland at the “request” of the criminal underworld.  Following a heartbreaking and messy divorce, she lost custody of her son, she has sunk to drug smuggling to try and survive.
Sonja’s efforts in bringing the cocaine into the country are under scrutiny of customs officials, and one in particular is sure that she’s up to something.  Bragi is close to retirement and after his wife going into a care home, his job is all he has left and he’s determined to prove his worth.

And if drug smuggling with a cat and mouse chase wasn’t enough for readers, there is a deliciously thrilling thread of financial crime running through the plot that involves another character linked to Sonja.
At the heart of this book is the story line of a desperate mother who will do anything to win her son back, the problem being that she needs to outwit those around her who have a vested interested in her in order to gain her freedom.

Lilja Sigurdardóttir has created a very powerful book, with a plot that will stay with readers long after they’ve finished reading.  It is a book that readers will struggle to put down, and if they do manage to, the book will only call out to them tauntingly to be picked back up.
Sometimes when you read a book you can imagine a scene play out, or you can see the setting because of the language used by the writer, but in the case of this book, you really do feel like the whole thing plays out like a movie in your mind.  There’s just something so fantastic about the writing.

Characterisation in this is perfect, I could not help but feel connected to the different characters and their tales and despite wanting to dislike Sonja for her drug smuggling, I felt that I sympathised with her in a way.  And boy did I feel my heart thundering when she was passing through customs, she may have appeared cool and collected but I was a nervous wreck on her behalf – astounding writing!!

An excellent addition to the Scandi Noir genre, packed with tension, suspense and a crime story that gets under your skin!

I also think that credit and appreciation should go to Quentin Bates for his wonderful translation.

 

You can buy a copy of Snare via:

Orenda eBookstore
Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

 

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snare blog poster 2017

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