Snare – Has it caught you yet? Blog Tour

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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. 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.

This was a fantastic read. A stand-out in an increasingly competitive field -Lila Sigurdardottir has crafted a book that you’ll take a long time to forget once you’ve finished it. It certainly ensnared me.

One of the most striking things I’ll remember about Snare – and there are many – is that I was reading this chilly piece of Scandi noir in the desert heat of Las Vegas this month and despite the 80 degrees or so outside, in my head, I was very firmly transported to Reykjavik and experiencing all of the twists and turns alongside Sonja in the midst of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption.

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Sonja’s determined nature really spoke to me and she definitely stepped off the page for me in her determination to gain custody of her son Tomas. Sigurdardottir definitely makes us ask ourselves exactly how far we ourselves would be prepared to go to hold onto the things that we hold precious…

The snare that Sonja finds herself caught in becomes increasingly:  ‘Devil or the Deep Blue Sea’ – smuggling cocaine or losing your son is certainly a predicament that few people even dream of, never mind have to cope with. Having just been through American customs on my trip, I felt heart-pounding enough having NOTHING in my suitcase so I can only imagine how Sonja felt on her ‘expeditions’

I also thought that Bragi – the suspicious and observant customs official who finds himself wondering exactly WHY this striking woman keeps appearing it the airport  – was a deftly drawn character. His through processes provide a skilful counterpoint to Sonja’s voice and Sigurdardottir is careful that we do not just see him as a one-dimensional character: as well as his rather dour official face, he is a man struggling to cope with the deterioration of his wife who suffers greatly from Alzheimer’s. This book is beautifully balanced and does not just cast stereotypical or one-sided characters that can so often appear in thrillers, but has a cast of nuanced and credible characters that definitely drew me in and held me tight.

I was so drawn into this novel that I was delighted to find The Book Trail review when doing my customary obsessive research  – as ever, this fantastic blog transported me effortlessly to Sonja’s environment where I could see for myself the exact places that she was describing to me. Snare is such an evocative read that it was fascinating to see if the visions that I’d been conjuring up in my head in arid Las Vegas were matched by the reality of Sigurdardottir’s Icelandic reality. If this sparks your curiosity, I’ve included the link below so that you can see for  yourself

RESEARCH THE SNARE WITH THE BOOKTRAIL RIGHT HERE

The other aspect of  Snare that stood out for me was the presentation of Tomas, Sonja’s young son. I liked the human factor that this gave Snare and again set it apart from much crime thrillers and gave it a much more human edge. He reminds us of the whole reason WHY Sonja gets herself all snared up in the first place and makes readers think about the all too many human stories behind crimes committed rather than just thinking ‘drug smuggler’ or ‘criminal’ it forces us to think that people who commit crimes are wives, mothers, struggling and most importantly – just like us.

The other stand-out aspect of Snare is the story of Sonja and her love-interest Agla.  The best part of this story is that it definitely does not feel ‘shoehorned’ in. Agla and Sonja wind up in a passionate relationship where the fact that they are two women is irrelevant. They are two people who fall for each other during tough times for Iceland and their dynamic rings very true. Agla is in there to depict that the Financial rash in Iceland definitely brought out the very worst in some people and her selfish and high handed outlook is an enormous contrast to Sonja’s way of interacting with the people around her which remains human at all times – despite the daily difficulties she is forced to endure.

This will definitely appeal to fans of Scandi noir and is hopefully another fantastic Orenda pick from Karen that will encourage more people to choose books in translation rather than just stick to UK authours and famous voices. It really is well worth your while to cast your net more widely in terms of crime and thrillers right now and the Orenda back catalogue is a fantastic place to start ORENDA BOOKS Click here and see what else takes your fancy…

I’d like to pass on my thanks to the ever-lovely Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour and sending me a copy of the book. It’s such a gorgeous cover that at least three people asked me what I was reading on the plane and in the hotel and the inside is definitely just as striking. Get your hands on your own copy here

BUY A COPY OF SNARE

 

Writer on the Shelf

Lilja Sigurðard.

Lilja Sigurðardóttir is an Icelandic crime-writer and playwright, born in 1972. She is the author of four crime novels, Steps (Spor), 2009, Forgiveness (Fyrirgefning), 2010, Snare (Gildran) 2015, Tangle (Netið) 2016 and Cage (Búrið) 2017.

Her debut stage-play Big Babies (Stóru Börnin) was staged in the winter of 2013-2014, became critically acclaimed and won the Icelandic Theatre Prize Gríman as “Best play of the year.”

Lilja´s latest book, Tangle, (Netið) was published in Iceland in October 2016 by Forlagid publishing. The rights to the novel have already been sold to France/Switzerland/Luxembourg/Canada (Éditions Métailié); World English (Orenda Books)

Follow her on Twitter @Lilja1972

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The Yellow Room Blog Tour

Haunted by a tragic childhood accident, Chala’s whole life has been moulded by guilt and secrets. After the death of her stepfather, who took his own secrets to the grave, Chala re-evaluates her life and volunteers at a Kenyan orphanage, where she gets caught up in the turmoil of the post-election violence that took over a thousand lives in 2008. But, although she can walk away from Kenya, she cannot walk away from herself… With a poignant insight into Kenya’s recent crisis, Yellow Room is a drama that explores the power of secrets to run, and ruin, our lives.

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Shelan Rodger’s Yellow Room is definitely a strikingly beautiful book. It’s one of those novels that imprints itself upon you as it’s not just a fantastic story, it’s so gorgeously  written.

I actually knew very little about the political landscape of Kenya, but Yellow Room brought it vividly to life as we witness these events alongside Chala and see the profound effects of the post-election violence at first hand.

The colour yellow permeates this novel and the colours sounds and images of Kenya saturate the pages. I teach many students who, like Shelan Rodgers would have difficulty in describing where they are ‘from’ – maybe one of the advantages of this nomadic lifestyle is the innate ability to see any place with fresh and insightful eyes and this novel certainly achieves this.

There are of course many kinds of bravery and I think that this is one of the most memorable aspects of this novel and certainly one that will stay with me for a while.

The quotation:

 Secrets are like scars that heal over a wound that never quite disappears.

is a striking and apt one and I loved the way that the undercurrents  in this novel are managed so as to keep you reading on – as there is so much that is hidden, unsaid or veiled in Chala’s world.

Its always a good sign sign if I head straight off to research the time, place or events after reading a novel and it’s certainly true to say that Chala’s fictional experiences were so deftly handled that I was determined to find out more about the real-life events that she found herself caught up in. Even though the Kenyan scenes were at times brutal and harrowing, the powerful storyline and realistically drawn characters keep you reading on, to find out what answers will be revealed by the end of this fantastic read.

If you enjoy “travelling” to far off places through your reading and characters that draw you in and keep you guessing then you’ll love Yellow Room. I also found Shelan Rodgers story fascinating and you can find more about her by following the Blog Tour and reading some of the pieces by some of the other fab bloggers on the tour. I first became interested in finding out more about Shelan after reading Anne’s piece in the summer, link below:

Anne’s review and Shelan’s piece

 

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Id like to take this opportunity to thank Dome Press for inviting me to take part in this fantastic blog tour after being so intrigued to read about Chala’s journey this summer. If you haven’t read it yet, you definitely should…

My original Blogpost was ‘eaten’ and disappeared, but I actually loved the chance to revisit “Yellow Room” whilst here in Las Vegas for our Anniversary trip. It’s given me the opportunity to chat about it to three ladies who stopped by to ask what I was writing about and they’re definitely going to look it up later!

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Writer on on the shelf

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Shelan Rodgers’ life is a patchwork of different cultures and landscapes; she was born in Nigeria, grew up among the Tiwi – an aboriginal community on an island north of Darwin, and moved to England at the age of eleven. She travelled to Buenos Aires after graduating in Modern Languages from Oxford, and stayed for nine years. Then another chapter in England, followed by six years in Kenya on flower farms by Lake Naivasha and the lower slopes of Mount Kenya.

Now, Shelan lives in Andalucia, Spain. She has learned in and outside many classrooms around the world, teaching in some of them too. Her professional career has revolved around international education, learning and development, with an emphasis during her time in Kenya on anti-discrimination.

http://www.shelanrodger.com

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