Hyped in reviews and the media as one of the best thrillers ever, I settled in with what I thought would be a hugely entertaining and chilling read. But now I’m finished with it and feeling very conflicted. On the one hand I happily turned the pages and enjoyed the writing, the storyline, and the intriguing premise. On the other hand I was disappointed that the brilliant ending I had hoped for did not materialize. The book just didn’t really go anywhere at all. Sure, there were answers to questions that were built up in the book, but in my opinion it was just not worth it. It feels like a lost opportunity of what could have been a great story in a beautiful setting: rural Sweden.
The narrator lives in London and receives urgent messages around the same time from both of his parents. From his Dad he hears: “Your mother…She’s not well…She’s been imagining things–terrible, terrible things.” But his Mum says, “Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad…I need the police…” The narrator has secrets himself, things he never told his parents about his private life after they left the UK to live on the farm in Sweden.
Even though I enjoyed the author’s writing style, as a reader I felt cheated that I had spent most of the book just listening carefully to his Mum’s narrative, only to have it sort of fizzle at the end. There was lots of set-up, with only a few hasty answers arriving after 300 pages when the son goes to Sweden himself to settle the matter. It all felt a bit ‘too little, too late’. And although it was scary to think about how it would feel to be at the centre of a conspiracy where no one believes you and you get set up for failure, it just all took too long and I began to care less and less about the outcome. Scandi crime is popular these days and I was really hoping I could recommend this one, but unfortunately I just can’t.
Looking at this trailer though, I think that movie makers might be able to do something amazing with it!