Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour by Lilja Sigurðardóttir – translated by Quentin Bates.
About the Author
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, including Snare, Trap and Cage, making up the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, which have hit bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.
About the book
Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Ursula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.
But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And the death of her father in police custody so many years rears its head once again.
As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witchlike cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones, and the stakes are raised ever higher…
Ursula is offered a dream job. A job that comes with risks, threats and dangerous political machinations. It puts her in her danger and she hasn’t thought about the fact it could put her family at risk too. She becomes drawn into the schemes of others and is also being threatened by an unstable man. simultaneously she wants to help a mother to bring the rapist of her daughter to justice.
This is Scandi Noir – crime fiction, but the author weaves a more important element throughout the story, one that is usually brought into connection with soldiers and veterans. Civilians, victims and bystanders can also suffer repercussions from witnessing the horrors of war, crime or pandemics.
It has caused an emotional disconnect between Ursula and those closest to her – they don’t don’t know that though. Her husband can’t quite put a finger on it, this feeling of distance or pretense, but she knows. The flashbacks, the triggers, the sense of displacement and of living in the past, which often interferes with the present.
Sigurðardóttir writes a gripping story, one that takes the reader on a bumpy ride of hidden crimes and monsters lurking in plain. Of course setting the tale in the world of cutthroat politics makes it even more intriguing, because it is ruthless and full of betrayals. Power games built on patriarchal rules and driven by misogyny and sexism. Using the little woman as a pawn, because she is always going to be dispensable. It’s a fast-paced gripping read.