Friday, December 2, 2011
Easy Money, by Jens Lapidus I was hesitant to pick up this novel, but then found myself thoroughly enjoying it. Jens Lapidus, a criminal defense Lawyer in Stockholm, offers insight into the underworld. One wonders how much of this he has culled from his professional relations with this underworld, and how much of it is pure fiction. I was hesitant, as I thought this was a book that would in adequately try to supply nourishment to a craving created by Stieg Larson. An Hispanic Criminal was cliche, turns out believable though, even in Stockholm, but most of all, because the letter they use for an O in "Easy Money" does not appear in the Swedish Language, that is a Danish Letter. I am glad I picked up the book any way, free was good incentive. Jens tells the story of a young man, JWs, trying to live beyond his means while attending college, a middle class kid trying to party with aristocracy. It is JW's, story more than anything. Added to his struggle is the loss of his sister some years before. JW wants to know what has happened to his sister, does some investigating on his own. The other characters, more or less, serve to compliment JW's Story. They are interesting in themselves, you have Jorge, a refugee from Chile, and Mrado, Rado, and Nenan who form the nucleus of the Serbian mob in Stockholm, all trying to earn a buck and avoid the police while doing so. As other reviewers said, there are no good guys in this novel. Interesting, is the social commentary in the book. The Serbians all fought in the wars that tore up the former Yugoslavia in the mid 90s. Mrado, hates the U.S. for its intervention, almost as much as he hates Muslims. Not only do you get the perspective of criminals, and those who are more than likely also guilty of war crimes, you get a perspective of those wars not available in too many other places. You also see how militias, turn into mafias. (I was awarded the Nato Medal for my services in that war, I feel no guilt for it. I think the problem of Islam is one the west is going to have to deal with, but I don't think the mass murder of civilians is the way to go about it. I also had to laugh a bit, when Jens mentions that Gambling is a Lutheran sin, by which he means something Lutherans consider sinful. I suppose there is some historical warrant for such a statement. But it did seem a bit odd to this Lutheran pastor who likes a game of black Jack or Poker now and then. Slot machines though, you can't play those, they are evil.) The writing style, is clipped. I didn't enjoy it at first. I wouldn't say it grew on me. But I got used to it. Jens I think used that clipped style more at the beginning than he did at the end. But it does persist through out.