Monday, May 26, 2014

Review: The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

The Farm is the first novel I've read by Tom Rob Smith. There's been a lot of praise for his other crime novel Child 44 so I figured why not give him a chance. Plus the premise of a woman gone mad who needs to defend her delusions is always a good story.

The Farm begins with Daniel receiving a call from his father warning him that his mum is not well and has been committed. Not too long after that call, Mum arrives to London hoping to have an ally in her beloved son. This is the first time Daniel has witnessed any sort of turmoil between his parents and is not sure who to believe. The novel progresses as Tilde tells her story of their family's demise because of a "villain" who has Chris, her husband, eating out of the palm of his hand. 

Although The Farm is written as a first person narrative being told from Daniel's point of view, it shifts to Tilde reading from her journal and notes she's taken over the few months they've been living in the remote Swedish farm they bought after falling on hard times. For all intents and purposes, she seems of sound mind... seems. Her rantings become paranoid, delusional, and inconsistent. It becomes hard to decipher what is real or not.

Daniel listens to his mother's story and is constantly pulled from one side to the other. Does he believe his mother and assume his father is up to something sinister? Or could his father's warning of his mum not being well really be the whole truth, and nothing but. While trying to make his way through the muck that his mum places at his doorstep, he also must come to terms with the fact that there are secrets, scandals, and lies by omission that could possibly threaten to tear this family apart.

Tom Rob Smith writes a gripping, Psychological crime thriller that will have readers unable to stop reading. The chapters are short and seem to always end on a cliff-hanger which is a good formula when you want the audience to continue on the journey with your characters. Even though this novel is fast-paced, I still felt it was descriptive and engaging. The characters never felt one-dimensional but rather true relatives that could possibly be living down the street.

I definitely recommend The Farm to lovers of psychological thrillers set in the Swedish countryside. Tom Rob Smith has me on his team now and I look forward to reading his other crime thrillers. He has proven that family secrets is always a worthwhile read. It's no better pleasure than knowing there is a family out there that is more screwed up than your own. ****

Copy provided by Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley

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