Friday 23 July 2021

The Therapist - Helene Flood (Author), Alison McCullough (Translator)

At first it's the lie that hurts.

A voicemail from her husband tells Sara he's arrived at the holiday cabin. Then a call from his friend confirms he never did.

She tries to carry on as normal, teasing out her clients' deepest fears, but as the hours stretch out, her own begin to surface. And when the police finally take an interest, they want to know why Sara deleted that voicemail.

To get to the root of Sigurd's disappearance, Sara must question everything she knows about her relationship.

Could the truth about what happened be inside her head?

Translated from the Norwegian by Alison McCullough

What did I think?

Helene Flood's debut adult novel starts with such a great hook that it kept me riveted from start to finish.  I love the drama of secrets and lies and there are a lot of buried secrets to unearth in The Therapist.  I have to say that the translation by Alison McCullough is so flawless that it's easy to forget the book was originally written in Norwegian.

The main character of Sara is a bit of a strange one; she doesn't seem to like people that much despite having to deal with them in her role as a therapist.  Sara is always tired and lethargic making me wonder whether there is an underlying reason for her lack of energy or whether she is just plain lazy.  Sara's marriage to Sigurd certainly seems to have sucked the life out of her and she's very quick to believe his friends (who she clearly doesn't like) rather than his voicemail when Sigurd disappears.  That speaks volumes!

With her strange actions, little inconsistencies and even questioning herself sometimes, Sara turns out to be a very unreliable narrator.  I loved the intriguing little glimpses into Sara's past and found myself almost creating a virtual painting of Sara's character, adding layer upon layer as more is revealed.  There are a number of suspects in the book and I was delighted to find that I was completely blindsided and had pinned my colours to the wrong mast!  I think I need to read it again to see how I was misdirected.

So very atmospheric and tense, The Therapist is an enthralling mystery and one that had me questioning everything I read.  It's definitely more of a slow burner but very well written and I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another Helene Flood book.

I received a gifted copy to participate in the Tandem Collective readalong and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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