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 the death of her father in police custody so many years ago rears its head once again.
As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witchlike cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones, and the stakes are raised ever higher…
The award-winning internationally bestselling author Lilja Sigurðardóttir returns with Betrayal, a relevant, powerful, fast-paced thriller about the worlds of politics, police corruption and misogyny that feels just a little bit too real…
Úrsula is very much the lynchpin in the novel, not just because she’s our central character but because the various themes converge around her. We have crime, the search for justice, politics and domestic life all swirling around in the story, each one taking its turn to surface as it spins in ever-decreasing circles around Úrsula.
There’s a strong sense of motion in the novel as a whole with its short chapters and intense energy. Despite being damaged, Úrsula is a very strong character, restless in seeking to do what’s right.
She’s supported by an impressive cast of intriguing secondary characters, all with an important role to play. Like Úrsula herself, you get the sense the author is also someone who doesn’t want to waste time – who wants to get to the crux of the matter in the most efficient way possible.
The plot is very clever and cards are kept close to the chest until the denouement.
An enjoyable and enjoyably unsettling read.
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.