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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

‘The Farm’ by Tom Rob Smith



Published (UK) by Simon & Schuster,
12 February 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-84739-675-4 (PB)
Published (USA) by Grand Central Publishing,
24 February 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-4555-5106-4 (PB)

This novel has many of the aspects of banality, but it is anything but triteness.  In fact, it bristles with originality.  The plot centers on Daniel, the homosexual son of a couple who worked hard all their lives only to end up with almost nothing because of investments destroyed during poor economic times.  They choose to buy a farm in a remote part of Sweden, where Daniel’s mother was born and lived until she left for England at the age of 16 years.  There the plan for a contented retirement falls apart when she encounters what she believes to be a conspiracy.

Daniel, who has consistently put off visiting his parents because he is reluctant to disclose his sexual preference and introduce them to his significant other, receives a shocking phone call from his father informing him that his mother is not well, suffering from imagined occurrences and actually a psychotic breakdown.  She is brought to a hospital and Daniel prepares to fly to Sweden, but before he can, his mother leaves the hospital and flies to London in an effort to enlist his assistance in reporting the conspiracy to the police.

This begins a slow, painstaking presentation by Daniel’s mother, as she unfolds her experiences, observations and conclusions on the perceived evils that have taken place in the vicinity of the farm, including a possible sex ring involving young girls and maybe the murder of the 16-year-old daughter of a leading resident of the area.  At the conclusion, Daniel undertakes to investigate the allegations by flying to Sweden and tracing his mother’s life from the beginning to the recent events.  And it turns out to be quite a trip giving the author an opportunity to turn everything upside down.

Highly recommended.
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Reviewer:  Ted Feit

Tom Rob Smith was born in 1979 in London to a Swedish mother and an English father. He attended Cambridge University. His bestselling novels in the Child 44 trilogy were international publishing sensations. Among its many honours, Child 44 won the International Thriller Writer Award for Best First Novel, the Galaxy Book Award for Best New Writer, the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the inaugural Desmond Elliot Prize. Child 44 is now a major motion picture starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and Gary Oldman.

tomrobsmith.com


Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.


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