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Saturday, 11 January 2020

‘Cage’ by Lilja Sigurđardóttir

Translated by Quentin Bates
Published by Orenda Books,
17 October 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-912374-49-6 (PB)

The author is an Icelandic thriller writer and this book concludes the explosive Reykjavik Noir Trilogy. Ably translated by Quentin Bates who ensures an easy and atmospheric flow of the language, smuggling, dirty money, fraud, political intrigue, international conspiracies and drug barons all mingle together in a fiery masala. 

Wheeler dealer Agla and her one-time lover Sonja have gone their separate ways and the novel opens with Agla, now mentally fragile but taking centre stage, nearing the end of her prison sentence for her part in banking manipulation that rocked the world’s economies. Life seems to offer nothing until an accomplice from the past knocks on her door with an irresistible, sinister proposition concerning aluminum.

The author is a masterful clue dropper who plots ingeniously in chapters that are tight, snappy, tense and short and, although the book could be devoured as a stand-alone, readers would find it useful to have dived into its predecessors Snare and Trap if only to gain insights into the structure and development of the characters.

The writing is strong, the pace that of a ride on a roller-coater. Various storylines, often shocking, and multiple view points are skilfully woven into a rewarding, complex and   kick-ass noir tapestry as protagonists, not altogether likeable, in challenging situations are tossed into the shady underbelly of society and face off adversaries.  This is a satisfying, gripping novel full of suspense and surprises.
Reviewer: Serena Fairfax

Lilja Sigurdardottir 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 Reykjavik with her partner.

Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and practised in London for many years. She began writing by contributing feature articles to legal periodicals   then turned her hand to fiction. Having published nine novels all, bar one, hardwired with a romantic theme, she has also written short stories and accounts of her explorations off the beaten track that feature on her blog. A tenth, distinctly unromantic, novel is a work in progress. Thrillers, crime and mystery narratives, collecting old masks and singing are a few of her favourite things.

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