Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Betrayal by Lilja Sigurðardóttir, translated by Quentin Bates. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in the tour and to Orenda for my digital review copy. Do check out the post by my tour buddy for today, Gemma at Between The Pages Book Club.
About the Book
Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Úrsula 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 why has the death of her father in police custody so many years earlier reared its head again?
As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witch-like cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones, and the stakes are raised ever higher…
Format: Paperback (276 pages) Publisher: Orenda
Publication date: 1st October 2020 Genre: Crime,
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In the book, betrayal comes in many forms: infidelity, broken promises, compromised principles, false accusations and disloyalty. Many of these are manifested in the character of Úrsula herself. Driven by the same need to make a difference that saw her work in disaster relief around the world, she undertakes to try to right an injustice. That decision will have consequences she could not have foreseen. In the process, Úrsula gets a lesson in the power of vested interests and a glimpse of the decidedly murky side of politics.
The strains on Úrsula’s family life of her high profile role as Minister of the Interior are soon apparent. The change that was supposed to bring the family closer together has done just the opposite, widening the fractures that already existed in her marriage to Nonni. Úrsula’s own actions and her inability to share with him the traumatic scenes she witnessed during her aid work only add to the tensions in their relationship.
The book has a complex web of different storylines and secondary characters that demand the reader’s full attention but definitely repay the effort. (The exception for me were the more bizarre elements of the storyline involving Stella.) Some of the connections between the characters seem obvious from the beginning, others less so. However, all the threads are cleverly woven together in the end to create a picture you may not have been expecting. And you’ll have learned about Icelandic naming conventions along the way.
The short chapters and the fact that events unfold over the space of only a few weeks create a sense of pace. And the author has certainly mastered the art of finishing a chapter with a sentence that will chill, thrill or force you as a reader to say, okay just one more chapter…
Betrayal is a skilfully-crafted and gripping thriller full of contemporary resonance, touching as it does on topics such as press intrusion into the private lives of those in public office, political corruption, police brutality, the toxic nature of social media, drug culture, homelessness, racial discrimination…to name just a few.
In three words: Intense, compelling, suspenseful
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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.
Connect with Lilja
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