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Monday 14 November 2022

‘The Lover’ by Helene Flood

Published by MacLehose Press,
23 June 2022. 
ISBN: 978-1-5294061105(HB)

This is a murder mystery involving a family living in an apartment block whose lives become intertwined with those of their neighbours. 

The setting is in Norway and the book has been extremely well translated from Norwegian the Author's native language.  It is a complex situation but a reasonably straightforward read which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Our main character- Rikke - is having an affair with an upstairs neighbour who is found murdered early in the novel.  There follows not just Police intervention and neighbour suspicions but Rikke's own dilemma about whether or not to confess her infidelity to her husband and/or to the police.

A fine balanced investigation involving all the neighbours and some of the neighbours' children and crucially Rikke's own two children which leads to some startling revelations. 

The author reflects many of current day tensions between couples and parent/child relationships in a very believable way and one is never left suspending disbelief.  The twists and turns of the plot remain fascinating right up to the denouement at the end and even then, there is a last-minute revelation which leaves the reader a little disconcerted.  I would now like to read Helene Flood's previous novel The Therapist as I feel this is a really interesting novelist who is new to me.

Reviewer: Toni Russell

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.

Toni Russell is a retired teacher who has lived in London all her life and loves the city.  She says, ‘I enjoy museums, galleries and the theatre but probably my favourite pastime is reading.  I found myself reading detective fiction almost for the first time during lockdown and have particularly enjoyed old fashioned detective fiction rather than the nordic noir variety.  I am a member of a book club at the local library and have previously attended literature classes at our local Adult Education Centre.  I am married with three children andfive grandchildren.

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