After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonja 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 Sonja 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.
So, I’m late to the party. Lilja Sigurðardóttir’s third book in her Reykjavik Noir trilogy, Cage, has just been published, and here’s me not having read any of them.
Until today, that is. I practically inhaled book 1, Snare, over the course of an afternoon, and promptly kicked myself for missing out. At least I don’t have to wait for books 2 and 3, I suppose!
Snare follows three strands: Sonja, drug smuggler snared in a spiralling series of ever more dangerous strategies to get cocaine into Iceland. Agla, high-level bank executive under investigation following suspicious activity in the banking crash, and Sonja’s lover. Rounding off the trio we have the relentless Bragi, a customs officer determined to crack down on the drug smuggling through his airport.
I must admit that I found Sonja and Bragi’s stories more interesting than the seemingly drier financial investigations into Agla’s past, but it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out in the later books.
Sigurðardóttir has crafted an elaborate game of cat and mouse with Snare, though it’s not always clear who’s the cat and who’s the mouse. I’ve got a huge soft spot for a good twisty tale, and loved this one – from the brilliant characters to the Icelandic setting (huge thanks for the pronunciation guide!), I just couldn’t put it down. Right, now onto book 2!
Snare by Lilja Sigurðardóttir is published by Orenda Books. Translated by Quentin Bates (@graskeggur). Huge thanks as ever to Karen at Orenda for the review copy.