Monday, 23 May 2016

The Trap

Author: Melanie Raabe
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Type: Trade Paperback
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Spiderline (House of Anansi Press)
First Published: May 28, 2016
First Line: "I am not of this world."

Book Description from GoodReads: The famous novelist Linda Conrads, 38, is a mystery to her fans and the media. She hasn’t set foot over the threshold of her villa on Lake Starnberg for more than eleven years, and yet she’s extremely successful. Her life, though comfortable, is highly artificial and her grip on reality is fragile. Only very few know that she is tormented by a dark memory.

When she was young, Linda found her sister Anna in a pool of her own blood and saw the murderer fleeing. His face haunts her dreams. So it is a tremendous shock for her one day when that exact face appears on her television screen — it belongs to the high-profile journalist Victor Lenzen. She decides to set a trap to catch Victor by writing a novel based on the death of her sister and promote the book through one interview —with Victor. But what actually happened that night many years ago?

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review: Going into a new book I always read the description so I have a good idea of how things are going to pan out. With The Trap I was expecting a standard 'whodunnit' but Raabe, a new German author, switched things up and gave me a very character-driven and impressive psychological thriller. I ended up with a very different kind of experience than I initially expected and I quite enjoyed it.

The premise is that author Linda Conrads found her sister's murdered body 12 years ago and even caught a glimpse of the culprit before he escaped.  The man was never apprehended by police. Since then she has become agoraphobic, shutting herself off from the outside world while making a living as a successful author.  When she sees her sister's killer on TV she comes up with a plan to write a novel titled Blood Sisters, a fictionalized version of her sister's murder to entice the killer to come out of hiding.  She has set the trap to catch him ... but will it work?

There are two stories going on - the main story line featuring the reclusive author trying to find her sister's killer and the other being excerpts from Blood Sisters
This quickly went from merely a whodunit to a well crafted psychological thriller.  Raabe sprinkles doubt in the reliability of Linda's perspective and these feelings continue through most of the book.  You see how unraveled she's become but is her reality the truth?  She even admits to herself that she's always loved to tell stories. I loved that I wasn't quite sure about Linda's take on things and I think Raabe wrote this aspect of doubt very well.  I admit that there are some parts that seemed to feel repetitive as the reader gets glimpses into Linda's muddled psyche but I think that only helped me to get inside her head and see just how haunted she continues to be over her sister's murder.

There are many twists thrown in that left me questioning my initial assumptions about Linda and the crime in question and with the heart-stopping endings to some of her chapters I was hooked and had a hard time putting down this book. 

The only criticisms that I have for this book is that the romance angle could have been omitted for all that it added to the plot and the ending felt a little too easily wrapped up and was over before you knew it. 

In the end, I found this book to be a gripping, twist-filled and tense psychological thriller that leaves the reader questioning the motives of the characters.  This is a very impressive debut novel.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Spiderline Publishing (House of Anansi Press) for providing me with a complimentary paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Janine K said...

This sounds like my cup of tea Laurie, shall put it on the list. There are so many great debut novels appearing, it's hard to keep up!! But I live it ��

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

I agree, Janine. I love finding new-to-me authors! And getting a chance to read awesome books from new authors is always a perk for me. I've come across many amazing authors over the years who are working so hard to promote their book, often without the help of a publishing house.

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