Friday, 25 March 2016

The Trap by Melanie Raabe

Review by Libby Mayfield

Over the past few years psychological thrillers have become more popular ever, Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl and S. J. Watson's Before I Go To Sleep being notable successes in the genre. Unlike the fads of paranormal romances or "sick lit", this is a style that can be difficult to pull off well, but I'm relieved to say that Melanie Raabe's The Trap did it.

The general premise is straightforward - a recluse author, Linda Conrads, sees her sister's murderer on television. She writes a book about the murder to lure the suspect into her home under the pretence of a rarely granted interview, and so the plot unfolds. It may seem simple, but, of course, it isn't.

I'm not usually one to be much affected by a novel, I have some trouble with horror movies but when it comes to literature I can usually shut the cover and put the plot out of my mind, no matter how deep under my skin it gets. Raabe's thriller proved to be an exception. Despite wanting to rush through the chapters, I paced myself over several days, and for the majority of the nights between I found the book creeping into my dreams, making them just as gripping and unsettling at the plot, where much like Linda, I found my reality questioned.

Every chapter is a mind game, from the two simultaneous stories to Raabe's ability to make you question just how much is real - as the plot proves how far the mind's perception of the world can be bent, it almost leaves you questioning just how much you know to be true. With convincing characters and a first person narrative so strong you find yourself thinking like Linda, the plot is almost totally absorbing. Add in impressive attention to detail and enough research to make every aspect believe, and it's safe to say you've got a novel that's consumed me like none has in months.

Raabe has an eerily beautiful talent for descending the novel into chaos and neatly piecing it back together again, resulting in a thriller that both leaves you wanting to rush to the end, and withhold yourself somewhat for fear of getting too sucked into the plot. But I might warn you; this is not a novel for the faint of heart. It might just creep into your dreams.

Libby's review - 5 stars
Publisher - 
Mantle (Panmacmillan)

Genre - adu
lt crime fiction, psychological thriller,  

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