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Easy Money: A Novel Hardcover – April 3, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307377482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307377487
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

A story of a world of crime that has gone global.
R. A. Barricklow
It does end with a kind of feel-good open-ended situation that makes me suspect there's a second book to come.
A. Ross
I understand this is a translated book, but the translation seems a bit stilted.
W. D. Barnum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David Keymer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 12, 2011
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'll check out almost any translated crime fiction I come across, since the genre is often much better at providing a window into the everyday society of a place than more literary fiction. This Swedish thriller, however, proved to be an unimpressive, run-of-the-mill journey through an urban underworld, albeit Stockholm, as opposed to LA or NYC. The book follows three men: JW is a small-town Swede who has moved to the big city to reinvent himself as a college playboy, Jorge is a Latino cocaine hustler plotting an elaborate escape from jail, and Mrado is a immigrant Serbian thug who is deeply involved in the "Yugo" mafia. If you need to have a "sympathetic" protagonist in your fiction, this is definitely not the book for you. Each of the men is amoral, and Mrado is much much worse (there are repeated references to his being at Srebrenica), and there's no cop or lawbringer in the book other than some interludes comprised of court documents relating to the action.

Over its 400+ pages, the book slowly draws these three men closer and closer together for a climactic collision -- but along the way it delivers a detailed look at how various parts of the criminal world works. From the coat-check shakedown racket, to high-end prostitution, to dime-bags and international smuggling, it's all in there. The author is a well-known criminal defense lawyer, and clearly has plenty of insider knowledge about a lot of this stuff. Which is good, because it allows him to include reasonably interesting details on the backs of some fairly cardboard characters.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W. Sanders VINE VOICE on December 3, 2011
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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