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A special thank you to Grand Central and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Originally published in German, the English-language translation was one of the hottest titles at London Book Fair, where it generated keen film interest from Hollywood producers!
Interview with the Author.
Melanie Raabe delivers an intriguing psychological twisty mystery suspense debut, (a book within a book) THE TRAP,an author obsessed with bringing her sister’s murder to justice, and the mystery behind her death. However, with an evil dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, who is trapping, whom?
The famous novelist Linda Conrads, age 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.
Twelve years earlier, Linda found her sister, Anna in a pool of her own blood in her flat, and the murderer fleeing. His face haunts her dreams. She is shocked to discover the same face ont he TV screen— belonging 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, while promoting the book through an interview —with none other than the real killer. What really happened?
Linda Conrads' home is her world. In her world there is only one season. A recluse. She is a successful author, and has not left her home for eleven years. The only people who come to visit her—her assistant, her publisher, and her agent. Her dog, Bukowski is her companion. A safe world. At least she thinks so.
Italy reminds her of her sister, Anna, and of the way things used to before the darkness. Her sister is dead, three years younger. She died twelve years earlier. She was murdered and she was the one who found her. They did not always get along, but she loved her sister.
She saw the murderer’s face. A man who turned toward her and fled. She still does not know why he didn’t attack her. She is still traumatized. The media speculates about her mystery illness that prevents her from moving freely, since she has not left her house in over a decade. Her publisher calls her an extremophile.
The night of her sister’s death, she saw the killers face, and now she is seeing him once again on TV. She is having a panic attack, and hyperventilating. The monster from her dreams is alive and she will find a way to trap him and make him confess. She remembers every detail. She is determined to bring him down. She wants justice for her sister.
Linda is trapped in her house and the police did not even believe her at the time. She has to think of a way to get him to her house. He is a journalist, and she is a famous author, notoriously withdrawn, who has had all the big magazines and TV channels clamoring for an interview for years, especially when a new book is released.
Her therapist told her to use her writing to flush it out of her system. To let it go and move on. She has an idea, to write a new book and the events from twelve years ago in the form of a crime novel. Bait for the murderer and therapy for her.The Blood Sisters. A trap to snag her murderer.
She is writing a crime novel in which she describes a murder that resembles the murder of her sister, down to the last detail. She will tell no one. Business as usual with her publisher, and assistant. She has to do this for herself and for Anna. She will find the strength.
She has to be prepared. A trap is a device to catch or kill. A good trap should be two things: foolproof and simple.
He is fifty-three years old with a family. She will do her homework. Divorced with a thirteen- year- old daughter. He has studied politics, history, and journalism, then worked as a trainee reporter at a Frankfurt daily newspaper before moving to Munich and rising to editor in chief, then went aboard.
Readers hear the story leading up to the murder through the fictionalized characters in Linda’s book, The Blood Sisters and alternating between present day and interactions and interviews with Victor. The killer is portrayed as a soulless monster, a typical psychopath. What was the motive? Does she know? Will he figure it out? Is he innocent or guilty?
Soon Linda’s own sanity is questioned. Is she mad, crazy, and did she kill her own sister and conjure up this man? Which one will trap or outsmart the other? Is the man a killer or a victim? Her sister was stabbed seven times. The paramedics and police had told her Anna was dead when she arrived at the flat. Did she dream of this or is it true? Are the tables being turned?
Will Linda be forced to leave her house in search for the real truth about that horrific night long ago?
Raabe keeps you guessing until the end. A trap to catch or kill. Who will win out in the end? I have always been intrigued with those who live behind closed doors in isolation. With THE TRAP, we have a more intriguing twist with the writing of a crime book (within a book), to tell the story. Is Linda a reliable narrator or not?
The author gets inside the character’s heads -- more psychological suspense than a thriller. You know what she is thinking, feeling, and the array of emotions which adds intensity. Linda is also a character you root for, and the author is writing from Linda’s perspective as the first person narrator. Linda's life is told through the fictionalized version of her past, instead of through simple flashbacks. This gave the book a clever and devious twist.
Leaves you speculating whether her accounts of the past are correct, or whether she is fooling them with one of her made up stories. Therefore, being glued to the pages to figure out the mystery surrounding Anna’s death.
An entertaining Grip-Lit! Can definitely see why it was picked up by a Hollywood studio for adaptation. Will be interesting to see how it is written and the cast of stars. Congrats to the author!
For fans of Clare Mackintosh, Megan Miranda, Ruth Ware, Paula Treick DeBoard, and Paula Daly. Looking forward to what’s next. An author to follow. Welcome to the US!