Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir (translated by Quentin Bates)

First in the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy


Book blurb

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

Set in Iceland in the aftermath of the financial crisis and, with the air still full of ash, it is winter.

Sonja is divorced from Adam and only has access to her son Thomas every other weekend. The divorce was financially crippling and she got in with some very bad people in order to pay off her debts. She is drug smuggling and trying to break free only seems to get her in deeper with the Snare. But her travelling has caught the eye of customs officer Bragi he has a gut feeling about Sonja and he’s watching her.

Agla is a senior bank executive being investigated by the police for her part in the Iceland financial crash. She is Sonja’s lover. 

There is no police investigation into Sonja’s activities as we are being told the story from her point of view although we also hear from Agla and Bragi – it is a lesser used perspective of the genre and this allows the reader to relate in a sympathetic way with Sonja as we get to know her story. 

You are drawn into the characters some of whom are quite colourful, if not very nice, and the author has a wonderfully vivid imagination with which she draws some riveting and suspenseful scenes of the situations Sonja gets herself into. The tiger scene was quite something!

Well written it keeps you hooked with the short chapters ensuring that the story moves along at a good pace. There is plenty of tension – mainly from the smuggling aspect – in this nicely constructed plot but you also get the storyline of how Sonja finds herself in this position, her relationships with Thomas, Agla and Adam and her desire to be free of the Snare. Will she ever be free? You’ll need to read this terrific book to find out.

This is the first book that I have read by Lilja Sigurdardóttir and I would certainly recommend it.


Published:         Orenda Books

Paperback: 240 pages

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1910633801

ISBN-13: 978-1910633809

Buy:                   Amazon


98A11A54-4DAD-4EFA-A37E-AF32B4BC3420Icelandic 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. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Follow Lilja on Twitter  and on her Website


Steps (Spor), 2009
Forgiveness (Fyrirgefning), 2010
Snare (Gildran) 2015 (Reykjavík Noir 1)
Trap (Netið) 2016 (Reykjavík Noir 2)
Cage (Búrið) 2017 (Reykjavík Noir 3)
Svik (no English title yet) 2018

Lilja’s latest book, Svik is a standalone thriller with a political twist and will be published in Iceland in October 2018 by Forlagid publishing.

Coming soon: Trap #BlogTour

The second of the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy – Trap – is published in the UK in October 2018


A058E33B-78A4-4702-A31F-A65537E19136Translator: Quentin Bates escaped English suburbia as a teenager, jumping at the chance of a gap year working in Iceland. For a variety of reasons, the gap year stretched to become a gap decade, during which time he went native in the north of Iceland, acquiring a new language, a new profession as a seaman and a family before decamping en masse for England.

He worked as a truck driver, teacher, netmaker and trawlerman at various times before falling into journalism largely by accident. He has been the technical editor of a nautical magazine for many years, all the while keeping a close eye on his second home in Iceland, before taking a sidestep into writing fiction. He is the author of a series of crime novels set in present-day Iceland (Frozen Out, Cold Steal, Chilled to the Bone, Winterlude, and Cold Comfort), which have been published in the UK, USA, Germany, Holland, Finland and Poland. He has translated a great deal of news and technical material into English from Icelandic, as well as novels.

Visit him at Quentin’s website or on Twitter.


Author: lovebooksreadbooks

I love to read and hope you enjoy reading what I have to say about the books I have read.

3 thoughts on “Snare by Lilja Sigurdardóttir (translated by Quentin Bates)”

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