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Easy Money: A Novel Hardcover – April 3, 2012

3.2 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"An intelligent and original thriller that displays as much wit as it does muscle . . . Lapidus skillfully weaves together the narratives of characters from every level of the Swedish criminal underworld . . . [He's] a fantastic writer of action, but he also knows when to leave the guns holstered and build suspense." —The Daily Beast

"[A] searing debut…This sprawling novel, full of offensive language, exposes moral degradation of every stripe while relentlessly depicting Sweden’s underworld and the reasons it exists and grows."
Pubishers Weekly (starred review)

"At last: an epic European thriller to rival the Stieg Larsson books. It's an entirely new criminal world, beautifully rendered—and a wildly thrilling novel."
—James Ellroy

"Jens Lapidus, with his dazzling book, Easy Money, is the new Swedish thriller writer everyone’s been waiting for."
—Reggie Nadelson, author of Londongrad
"A solid, rich, and witty page-turner about the criminal world of Stockholm, where cocaine is the prime mover . . . Lapidus shows much literary promise—no one else in Sweden does what he does here."
Sydsvenskan (Sweden)
"A raw and rebellious thriller . . . Lapidus’s writing sweeps you along with short, rhythmic sentences that are fast and engaging. [An] utterly captivating read. Sharp and entertaining."
De Morgan (Denmark)
"A cornucopia of sex and violence, hookers and pickpockets in a Stockholm both good and bad . . . A staggering gangster novel."
Politiken (Denmark)
"A terrific book about the underworld of Stockholm . . . An absolute must-read."
Het Parool (Netherlands)
"Without a doubt a debut to take seriously."
Helsingsborgs Dagblad (Sweden)

About the Author

Jens Lapidus is a criminal defense lawyer who represents some of Sweden’s most notorious underworld criminals. He lives in Stockholm with his wife.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307377482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307377487
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,317,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If I may be permitted to invent a word, this is less a policier -a police procedural --than it is a villainier, the same process as seen from the side of the bad guys. While there is a police action in process throughout this crime thriller, it's the villains who get the lion's share of the attention.

In successive chapters -1, 2, 3, over again and again up to the end of the book, four hundred eighty pages in--we follow inside the heads of three very different thugs. JW doesn't see himself as a crook at all. He's in college -been making near straight As but his grades start slipping as the narrative proceeds. JW envies the life of his privileged friends; he wants to be rich too. In the meantime, he drives a gypsy cab at night to earn the money he throws away on designer clothing and nights partying at the most chi chi of clubs. When he's offered the chance to get into the C (cocaine) game, he takes it -the profits are enormous. Jorge is originally from Venezuela. A low echelon drug dealer, he was abandoned by his bosses when the police nabbed him. He escapes from prison and all he wants is revenge, plus more money of course. Mrado is the Number Two Man in Stockholm's Yugoslavian Mafia. He bears a grudge against his boss Rado: the profits he earns with his hard work seem to flow heavily to Rado and not at all to him.

The cocaine business -organized crime in Stockholm in general- is getting riskier all the time. The police have set up a special operation, Project Nova, to coordinate efforts to bring the criminals down. Soon, Jorge, Mrado and JW are on a collision course with each other as well as with the police. Their life is dangerous and dirty and they can't trust anyone.

The story, eloquently translated by Astri von Arbin Ahlander, unfolds in rapid-fire sequence.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First off, I like this book, this author, the story and the characters. However, I find the reality split between what seems to be Sweden and its culture and what sounds like an American criminal subculture populated by non-Americans to make me uneasy. The police and the rest of the Swedish legal system appear to act and sound like what I expect them to sound like--nothing like what you might find in an American context. The book is even peppered with "legal documents" to lend a Swedish legal flavor. Organizationally and even temperamentally, the Swedish police seem to think about things differently than American police--their approach is different. They are more objective in a bureaucratic sense and trying to figure a plan to optimize Swedish order, law and sensitivity. In other books by Swedish mystery writers, I've found the same kind of operational workings by the police. They sound better controlled, organized, and less emotional than their American counterparts.

The criminals, on the other hand, sound just like American criminals. The two key "good criminals," JW (an upwardly mobile kid who sells dope) and Jorge, a Swede by birth and Latino by ethnicity, are actually likable. I was rooting for Jorge's escape from prison and hoping that JW would meet his aspirations. However, the other criminals with whom they move as well as they themselves sound exactly like American criminals. The bad, bad criminal, Mrado is a Serb crime boss who sounds like the kinds of heavies in the US--in speech and manner. It's an odd combination of Ghetto thug, Aryan prison monster, and Brighton Beach (NY) Russian mobster and maybe a little Godfather bent nose. However, it certainly does not sound Swede.
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11 Comments 6 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Easy Money is the translation of Jens Lapidus' hit Swedish crime novel Snabba Cash. The first part of Lapidus' Stockholm Noir trilogy, Snabba Cash was adapted into a Swedish film of the same name in 2010. Snabba Cash will be adapted as an American film, starring Zac Efron, and the original Swedish film will be in American cinemas this summer (it is already on Region 2 DVD). A Swedish sequel to the original film is also in the works. Lapidus' star is clearly on the rise, and it is fitting that his first novel has just received an English translation. Easy Money may not be quite as punchy a title as Snabba Cash, but there's plenty of punch to be had once you open the book.

Easy Money revolves around a trio of protagonists. JW is a working-class student who longs to be part of Stockholm's conspicuously affluent jet set, but is haunted by the disappearance of his sister several years earlier. In order to finance lavish social aspirations, JW turns to selling cocaine. Mrado is a Serbian mobster negotiating three tricky situations: organizing the underworld to maximize the Serbian mob's share of illicit markets, securing his own position within the Serbian organization and gaining custody of his eight-year old daughter. The final protagonist is Jorge, a Latino cocaine dealer who breaks out of prison. Jorge tries to get back into the game to take care of his pregnant sister and take revenge on the Serbians who put him in prison.

All of the conflicting protagonists are sympathetic; we relate with each character's motivations and objectives. As the book proceeds we realize that they can't all have their way. In fine noir form, Lapidus brings us to an inexorable and unfortunate climax.
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