Sunday, 18 April 2010

Therapy: review


Therapy, described as an ‘international bestseller’, was written by a leading figure in the German media, Sebastian Fitzek. It was first published in 2006 and appeared in the UK a couple of years later, though I have only just got round to reading it (a sad comment on my TBR pile, but believe me, I have some good books which have been in my possession for a lot longer which I still haven’t tackled – oh dear!)

The set-up is intriguing, and there are aspects of it which almost reminded me of the work of Boileau-Narcejac, or possibly even Cornell Woolrich, although Fitzek’s writing is very different from theirs. Josy, a 12 year old girl, has a mysterious illness and vanishes from her doctor’s surgery. Her father is Viktor Larenz, an eminent psychiatrist, who suffers a mental collapse and withdraws to a remote island in the North Sea.

His life is disturbed by the arrival on the island of a strange woman called Anna Glass, who claims to be a writer and whose characters, apparently, become real. In her last novel she wrote about a girl with a strange ailment who has vanished in circumstances very similar to Josy’s. Viktor reluctantly agrees to act as Anna’s therapist in order to solve this unsettling mystery.

This is a pretty good thriller, albeit rather bleak in tone. I enjoyed it, and there were some excellent twists in the narrative. A weakness, however, was the motivation of the culprit, which did not seem to me to be adequately explained. Nevertheless, a sound example of Eurocrime.


4 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Thanks for this recommendation. I always like it, too, when the motivations for a crime are clear. Still, this seems pretty interesting, and you've intrigued me. I'm going to try to find this one.

By the way, you should see my TBR list. I have no idea how I'll get through it, and it always seems to keep growing...

Martin Edwards said...

Margot - this TBR pile issue is a bit of a worry. In fact, mine is not so much of a pile but a range of mountains!

Maxine said...

Martin, a couple of times I have tried to visit your blog via different routes and both times I have received a "malware alert" pop-up. Just mentioning it in case you did not know and want to do a virus check on your site.

Turning to Therapy, I am afraid I did not like this book at all. I liked the initial premise but I felt it fell into a huge mess in the middle, with all kinds of altered perception/not being honest with the reader/"Shutter Island" syndrome, etc. By the time I got to the end I could not remember who was who, who had done what, nor did I care. One of the rare books which I simply could not review. I can't understand why so many people think so highly of this muddle (eg Mike Ripley and CrimeFicReader). To me, it was a muddled mess that destroyed a credible and intriguing premise.

Martin Edwards said...

Maxine - many thanks, Paul Beech has just sent me a similar message about my website. I shall try to find out what is going on....