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Easy Money: A Novel Hardcover – April 3, 2012

3.3 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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.

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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: 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 (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,252,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have seen some comments about this book that have the names Jens Lapidus, Jo Nesbo, and Stieg Larsson in the same sentence. Let's be very clear, the only thing these three gentlemen have in common is that they are from the Nordic countries. Jens Lepidus does not deserve to be in the same category as the other two.
Having made the above statement, in fairness I have to add a note of caution: I read the English version of 'Easy Money'. Perhaps the translation lost something (the third dimension of the characters), or gained something (a collection of American gangster words and expressions, many of which cannot be found in the dictionary or Wikipedia). The result is that 'Easy Money' reads like a crude collection of underworld events that could be taking place anywhere in the world.
Needless to say I will not be reading any more of the Stockholm Noir trilogy.
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I forced myself to read the entire novel. Good plot, but I agree with other reviews that the dialog was very sophomoric and distracting. When some reviews referenced short, choppy sentences, I thought the novel would be more like a Ken Bruen--but it was nothing like a Ken Bruen. Pity. Love Ken Bruen
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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