BETRAYAL | Lilja Sigurðardóttir
10.01.2020 | Orenda Books
Rating: 4/5 stars
Úrsula has decided to return to Iceland after years spent working around the world fighting epidemics and violence. Unable to fully step away from a high-stress lifestyle, she accepts a high-profile government position where she hopes to be able to make a difference. On her first day in the job she has already promised a mother to find justice for her daughter, who has accused a police officer of raping her. What she doesn’t expect is for this first promise to lead to a whirlwind few days where Úrsula will face numerous dangers and reopen old wounds from her father’s death.
Over the years I have gotten to know Lilja’s work through her Reykjavik Noir trilogy, where I became accustomed to her snappy, fast-paced writing style. BETRAYAL is nothing short of that same intense level of writing I fell in love with in those books!
BETRAYAL is set over the course of several days where the reader follows Úrsula’s start in what she hopes will be a rewarding political career. What we find is a cutthroat environment where no one seems to be out to help Úrsula succeed. Our main character is seemingly quite different from those she now works with. Úrsula wants to drive change in Iceland and bring positive improvements for citizens, but she is met with hurdle after hurdle to alter her goals. I absolutely fell in love with this intricately conceived and extremely realistic portrayal of government workings.
In addition to Úrsula the reader is also presented with several secondary characters. Lilja alternates Úrsula’s sections of the story with glimpses into the lives of these characters. The reader easily can pick up and distinguish the differences between the storylines, but the real gift is the connections these characters have with each other. At first some of the additional storylines feel a little odd or out of place, but as you push forward the reader realizes that Lilja has actually built an intricate, interconnected story. I loved discovering all of the ways our characters were connected and how each of their actions were unknowingly impacting the other storylines.
BETRAYAL hones in on a well-built environment coupled with outstanding characters to create a story that will keep you glued to the pages. Short chapters easily propel the story forward with cliffhanger endings to keep you guessing well into the night. If you’re looking for a Nordic Noir story that stands out from the crowd, this one is a perfect match!
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A huge thank you to Orenda Books for my gifted digital copy!
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.