2006 Swedish novel by criminal defence attorney Jens Lapidus now in English
Jens Lapidus From Danish TV hit ‘The Killing’ to Stieg Larsson’s ‘Girl’ series, Nordic thrillers are very much the in thing just now – which could have something to do with why Easy Money, the 2006 Swedish novel by criminal defence attorney Jens Lapidus, has just become available in English.
It could also be because the English language film rights have been bought by the same people as made Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Either way, with Lapidus’ undoubted inside knowledge of the Stockholm underworld, this had the pedigree and promise to be a really ‘good read’.
Sadly, the first two words that come to mind are the somewhat less complimentary ‘hard work’. I actually planned to review this for last month’s edition, but it’s taken me until now to finish it!
The loosely-woven story of three central characters operating in Stockholm’s dark and often vicious underbelly starts with an apparent kidnap and takes 446 pages to identify both victim and assailants.
Admittedly there is some clever observation on the human condition, you could almost feel sorry for one of the main characters but only almost, he’s actually a thug and a war criminal.
In hindsight, the way the three men’s lives become entwined is interesting, as is the in-depth knowledge of drug smuggling and the mechanics of money laundering – I’m sure there’s a useful masterclass in there for those with a bit more financial nous than I.
But, from a reader’s point of view, I found it all a bit overdone with repetition and coincidence playing too important a role.
Flashes of outright absurdity, such as the elevation of a student gypsy-cab driver to negotiating the biggest drug shipment Sweden has ever seen all in the space of a few months, required a suspension of credibility that’s well beyond me.
Add to that the absence of even one particularly likeable or sympathetic character in any of the main roles and you’ve got a tale that left me almost completely cold.