"The further we go down a path, the harder it is to go back, and the more consequences the U-turn would involve. There is always a point when we can shout No! and refuse to go on. If we miss it, each later moment is more complicated and brings with it the need to explain why we did not say no earlier."
A Reader's Respite will forever be grateful for author Stieg Larsson and not simply for the brilliant Millenium Triology he penned prior to his death. We are grateful because he sparked a new literary trend in America, opening our eyes (and our wallets) to the brilliant crime/thriller writers throughout Europe. Publishers took note of where we were willing to spend our money and the floodgates were opened.
When Pegasus Books announced that they would be releasing The Other Child, a best-selling thriller from Germany, A Reader's Respite knew we just had to read it. One of Germany's most successful and popular authors, Charlotte Link's work has been nominated for the German Book Prize and her novels regularly adapted into movies, including The Other Child which premiered earlier this year.
Translated from the German by Stefan Tobler, The Other Child is actually set in the north of England. After the brutal murder of a young college student sends the small, local community reeling, readers are introduced to Charolotte, a nearing-middle-aged local woman; single, painfully shy. Charlotte lives on a rural farm with her widowed father, but has most recently met a devestatingly handsome con-man who has his evil-eye on marriage and Charlotte's someday-inherited-farm.
Suddenly, another brutal murder. This time, an older woman who for years had served as Charlotte's pseudo-mother. Who is doing all this killing and why? We've got a cast of suspects to choose from and A Reader's Respite freely admits that while we had some wild guesses, we were still surprised at the end.
Interwoven throughout the narrative are epistolary flashbacks to WWII when Operation Pied Piper removed thousands and thousands of children from London to the countryside for their safety. Alone, afraid, leaving parents and homes aside, these children were taken in by complete strangers to be cared for until it was safe to return home. Not all were cared for well.
"It exists," she said. "Evil. More unimaginable, merciless and sly that most of us ever guess."
Secrets, cowardice, selfishness and self-pity abound throughout this haunting thriller that genuinely did have some scary moments (FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, DON'T GO IN THAT HOUSE!!!! *Argggghh, they went in the house...sigh*).
Ultimately, the present day murders and past epistolary narrative dovetail nicely together as the killer is revealed. Charolotte Link is another European author with a flair for thrillers, something Americans can't seem to get enough of. We predict she will do well on this side of the pond.
Title: The Other Child
Author: Charlotte Link
Translator: Stefan Tobler
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Source: Advance Reading Copy courtesy of Pegasus
Rating: 4 solid stars. If you like the Scandinavian thrillers, the German ones deserve reading, too!