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Wednesday 14 July 2021

‘The Therapist’ by Helene Flood

Published by MacLehose Press,
8 July 2021. 
ISBN: 978-1-52940602-3 (HB)
Translated from the Norwegian by
Alison McCullough

Oslo, and therapist Sara is woken by her husband, Sigurd, heading off one Friday morning for a boys’ weekend in a country cabin with his two best mates. ‘Just go back to sleep’ he says. He texts her at 9.40 to say he’s made it, and it’s great to be there with the others. Then, in the early evening, his friends phone. He’s not arrived at the cabin yet ... Someone is lying – but who, and why, and where is Sigurd?

I was hooked right from the start. The situation was intriguing, and I sympathised with the narrator, worrying about her work yet not feeling able to do anything about it, hating the half-finished house, yet completely trusting her husband. She’s a flawed narrator, out of touch with her own feelings, and it was interesting trying to work out the reality behind what she’s conscious of. She seems so alone, and you feel relieved when at last she asks her determinedly normal and cheerful sister to help her. Gradually you learn more about her past, and her relationship with Sigurd. At the same time the police are investigating, and this was interesting too, by contrast to a British novel, as the police are determinedly giving nothing away – it’s only as the novel progresses that you learn what senior officer Gundersen is thinking. There’s a great double twist at the end, and a final revelation that’s completely unexpected but totally satisfying.

An excellent Scandi mix of psychological thriller and crime novel with an intriguing situation and a sympathetic heroine. I couldn’t put it down.

Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Helene Flood is a psychologist who obtained her doctoral degree on violence, revictimization and trauma-related shame and guilt in 2016. She now works as a psychologist and researcher at the National Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress. The Therapist is her first adult novel. It has been sold in 27 counties and film rights have been bought by Anonymous Content. Her second novel, The Lover, will be published in English in 2022. She lives in Oslo with her husband and two children.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

Click on the title to read a review of her recent book Death From a Sheland Cliff


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