Melanie Raabe

The Trap

" of those books you will continue to mull over long after the last page has been turned."


The famous novelist Linda Conrads is an enigma neither her fans nor the press can make out. She lives a life of complete seclusion and hasn't set foot outside her villa for years.

In spite of her troubles, Linda is highly successful. Every year she publishes a new book, and every year it's a bestseller. Only very few people know that she is haunted by a dreadful memory from her past. Many years ago, Linda found her sister Anna in a bloodbath and saw the murderer escape. The perpetrator was never identified. It comes as an immense shock to her when she sees just this face flicker across her television set one day. It belongs to the journalist, Victor Lenzen, who is reporting live on a politics programme. Once she has recovered from the shock, she makes up her mind to ensure the murderer gets his due punishment. She sets Lenzen a trap using the only means at her disposal, and her only existing link to the outside world – literature.

For the first time in her life, Linda writes a thriller. It is based on the true story of her sister's murder – just another book, as far as Linda's fans are concerned, but nothing short of an indictment for the killer. Finally, to everyone's surprise, Linda offers to give an exclusive home interview to just one journalist when the book comes out – Victor Lenzen. On the day of the interview, a game of cat and mouse ensues, whose outcome appears wide open, but is Lenzen really a killer or is Linda fooling herself after years of self-imposed solitary confinement?

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'The Trap' was originally written in German and is set in Berlin. Not being a fan of European novels, I didn't have any expectations and was expecting (as usual) to have to stop reading shortly after starting. However, for me, 'The Trap' has translated well into English and the names are easy enough to pronounce and remember. The book is very cleverly written. The present tense is written from the perspective of Linda, which gives her great depth and the reader much understanding as to why she behaves as she does. All the events from the past are written as excerpts from Linda's novels, so names have charged from the actual characters, but the events are mostly as she remembered them. At times I felt the author spent a little too much time on the protagonist's internal thoughts, but this is my only criticism of the book. It was well-written and just as I was led to believe that something was happening, I was dragged along a different train of thought so I couldn't become complacent. The interview itself seemed to take up a lot of the book, yet the ending felt as though it was wrapped up in just a few pages, leaving me feeling as though Raabe's enthralling tale came to a condensed and rushed conclusion. I'm not sure if the translation could have diluted this. Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Trap' which is one of those books you will continue to mull over long after the last page has been turned.

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