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Easy Money

Cover of Easy Money

Easy Money

A Novel
Borrow Borrow

From one of Sweden's most successful defense lawyers comes an unflinching look at Stockholm's underworld, told from the perspective of the mob bosses, the patsies, and the thugs who help operate its twisted justice system.

JW is a student having trouble keeping up appearances in the rich party crowd he has involved himself with. He's desperate for money, and when he's offered a job dealing drugs to the very crowd he's vying for a place in, he accepts it. Meanwhile, Jorge, a young Latino drug dealer, has just broken out of jail and is itching for revenge. When JW's supplier gets wind of Jorge's escape, he suggests JW track him down and attempt to win his trust in order to cover more area in the drug circuit. But JW's not the only one on Jorge's trail: Mrado, the brutal muscle behind the Yugoslavian mob boss whose goons were the ones who ratted Jorge out to the cops, is also on the hunt. But like everyone else, he's tired of being a mere pawn in an impossibly risky game, and he's seeking to carve out a niche of his own. As the paths of these antiheroes intertwine further, they find themselves mercilessly pitted against one another in a world where allegiances are hard-won, revenge is hard-fought, and a way out of it all is even harder to come by.

Fast and intricately paced, and with pitch-perfect dialogue, Easy Money is a raw, dark, and intelligent crime novel that has catapulted Jens Lapidus into the company of Sweden's most acclaimed crime writers.


From the Hardcover edition.

From one of Sweden's most successful defense lawyers comes an unflinching look at Stockholm's underworld, told from the perspective of the mob bosses, the patsies, and the thugs who help operate its twisted justice system.

JW is a student having trouble keeping up appearances in the rich party crowd he has involved himself with. He's desperate for money, and when he's offered a job dealing drugs to the very crowd he's vying for a place in, he accepts it. Meanwhile, Jorge, a young Latino drug dealer, has just broken out of jail and is itching for revenge. When JW's supplier gets wind of Jorge's escape, he suggests JW track him down and attempt to win his trust in order to cover more area in the drug circuit. But JW's not the only one on Jorge's trail: Mrado, the brutal muscle behind the Yugoslavian mob boss whose goons were the ones who ratted Jorge out to the cops, is also on the hunt. But like everyone else, he's tired of being a mere pawn in an impossibly risky game, and he's seeking to carve out a niche of his own. As the paths of these antiheroes intertwine further, they find themselves mercilessly pitted against one another in a world where allegiances are hard-won, revenge is hard-fought, and a way out of it all is even harder to come by.

Fast and intricately paced, and with pitch-perfect dialogue, Easy Money is a raw, dark, and intelligent crime novel that has catapulted Jens Lapidus into the company of Sweden's most acclaimed crime writers.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    PROLOGUE

    They took her alive because she refused to die. Maybe it made them love her even more. That she was always there, that she felt real. But that's also what they didn't get, what would be their mistake. That she was alive, thinking, conscious. Plotting their demise.

    One of her earbuds kept falling out. The sweat made it slippery. She wedged it in at an angle, thought it might stick, stay in place and continue playing music.

    The iPod Nano bounced in her pocket. She hoped it was safe. No way she could drop it. It was her favorite possession and she didn't even want to think about the scratches it could get from the gravel on the road.

    She groped with her hand. No worries: The pockets were deep enough; the iPod was secure.

    She'd treated herself to the iPod as a birthday present and loaded it with as many songs as it could hold. It was the minimalist design, the brushed green metal, that'd tempted her to buy it. But now it meant something else to her, something more. It gave her peace. Every time she picked up the iPod, it reminded her of these moments of solitude. When the world didn't force itself on her. When she was left alone.

    She was listening to Madonna. It was her way of forgetting, running to music and feeling the tension slip away. Burning fat at the same time was obviously a perfect combo.

    She flowed with the rhythm. Almost ran to the beat of the music. Lifted her left arm a bit higher to check her time on her wristwatch. Every time she went jogging she'd try to break her own record. With the competitive obsession of an athlete, she checked her time, memorized it, and later wrote down the results. The route was a total of four miles. Her best time was thirty- three minutes. During the winter months, she trained only indoors at the gym. Weight machines, treadmills, and StairMasters. During the summer months, she kept going to the gym but traded the treadmill for side roads and gravel paths.

    She was heading toward Lilla Sjotullsbron, a bridge at the far edge of Djurgarden, a park on the fringe of Stockholm's inner city. A chill rose from the water. It was eight o'clock and the spring evening was beginning to give way to dusk. The lights along the path hadn't yet been lit. The sun that shone on her back no longer gave any warmth. She was chasing her own long shadow and thought that soon it would completely disappear. But in a moment, when the path was lit up, her shadow would flicker and change direction in time with the lampposts she passed.

    The trees were beginning to sprout crisp leaves. Closed buds of whitewood anemones pushed up through the grass beside the path. The banks of the channel were lined with old, dry reeds that'd survived the winter. Flashy villas rose up to the left. The Turkish embassy with its barred windows. Farther up the hill was the Chinese embassy, surrounded by tall iron fencing, surveillance cameras, and warning signs. By the rowing club was a mansion with a yellow picket fence around it. Fifty or so yards farther up was a rectangular home with an outdoor pavilion and a garage that looked like it was built right into the bedrock.

    Ritzy private houses with sheltered gardens spread out all along the running path. Every time she jogged, she'd check them out, massive hidden villas protected by bushes and fences. She wondered why they tried to appear unassuming when everyone knew only heavy hitters lived in Djurgarden.

    She passed two girls who kept a high pace. They sported that special Ostermalm look for power walking in the Djurgarden Park: down vests over long- sleeved shirts, yoga pants, and, above all, baseball caps pulled down low. Her...

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.

Reviews-
  • The Daily Beast

    "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."

  • Pubishers Weekly (starred review) "[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."
  • James Ellroy "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."
  • Reggie Nadelson, author of Londongrad "Jens Lapidus, with his dazzling book, Easy Money, is the new Swedish thriller writer everyone's been waiting for."
  • Sydsvenskan (Sweden) "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."
  • De Morgan (Denmark) "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."
  • Politiken (Denmark) "A cornucopia of sex and violence, hookers and pickpockets in a Stockholm both good and bad . . . A staggering gangster novel."
  • Het Parool (Netherlands) "A terrific book about the underworld of Stockholm . . . An absolute must-read."
  • Helsingsborgs Dagblad (Sweden) "Without a doubt a debut to take seriously."
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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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Easy Money
A Novel
Jens Lapidus
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