Author: Tom Rob Smith
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 13th February 2014
Date read: 23rd November 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Until the moment he received a frantic call from his father, Daniel believed his parents were headed into a peaceful, well-deserved retirement. They had sold their home and business in London, and said “farewell to England” with a cheerful party where all their friends had gathered to wish them well on their great adventure: setting off to begin life anew on a remote, bucolic farm in rural Sweden.
But with that phone call, everything changes. Your mother’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things–terrible, terrible things. She’s had a psychotic breakdown, and has been committed to a mental hospital.
Daniel prepares to rush to Sweden, on the first available flight the next day. Before he can board the plane, his father contacts him again with even more frightening news: his mother has been released from the hospital, and he doesn’t know where she is.
Then, he hears from his mother:
I’m sure your father has spoken to you. Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad. I don’t need a doctor. I need the police. I’m about to board a flight to London. Meet me at Heathrow.
Caught between his parents, and unsure of whom to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother’s unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a horrible crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father.
I loved the crap out of this book, it was so compelling and had me gripped the whole way through, this was a first for me on this author, I like to read new authors all the time, I like experiencing different writing and imaginations. The premise of this book intrigued me, as to who Daniel would believe when both parents are against one another.
The pace of this book is quite slow but it slowly drips feeds you information as to what has happened to his parents on the Farm in Sweden that you cannot stop reading.
Daniel currently lives in London with his partner Mark, when he gets an unexpected call from his father stating that his mother is not well and has fled from a psychiatric ward. His parents had not long moved to Sweden to retire to his mothers homeland.
Daniel who is an only child decides he needs to go to Sweden after putting it off for several months, however when he gets to the airport, he receives a call from his mother stating that she is flying over to the UK now to meet him so she can tell him her side of the story events that has been happening over the past 6 months.
Two thirds of the book are told by Tilde (Daniel’s mother), she has a satchel with evidence and a diary which she reads from, she is very specific with what happens and adamant that things must be told in chronological order so people do not misinterpret her findings as madness.
Daniel is a very naive character thinking his parents, never argued, had a great life, owning their own garden centre and several flats around London, when actually that was the complete opposite, he didn’t want to tell his parents he was homosexual as he thought they would think they had failed in his upbringing and disappoint them. Daniel seemed to have had a very sheltered life from his parents, he had never experienced them arguing, had a good education but in the end had a job as a gardener/landscape designer thingymajig which wasn’t really going anywhere and a high-profile boyfriend which he relied on for more than just companionship.
The thing that had me thinking was what if this was my parents? who would I believe? When one is saying the other is crazy and the other believes a murder has taken place and that the father is involved. I think this is why it was so gripping, you had to continue to find out the truth and I was not let down by this.
This was just a book that I picked up as the synopsis intrigued me, I didn’t expect to love it so much. The good thing about this book is that it is a thriller without the gore and blood.
I would definitely recommend this book.
I rated this 4 out of 5 stars.