2016 Reviews · contemporary fiction · crime · mystery · suspense · thriller · translation

Book Review: The Trap by Melanie Raabe


Book blurb:

Translated by Imogen Taylor

I know you killed my sister. I wrote this book for you.

Twelve years ago, Linda’s sister Anna wasmurdered. Her killer was never caught, but Linda saw his face. Now, all theseyears on, she’s just seen him again. On TV.

He has become a well-known reporter, and Linda—a famous novelist and infamous recluse—knows no one will believe her if she accuses him.

But she has a plan: she writes a thriller about a woman who is murdered, her killer never caught.

When the book is published, she agrees to give just one interview.

At home.

To the one person who knows more about the case than she does.


I usually have trouble with translated books from the thriller genre but German writer Melanie Raabe’s novel The Trap, successfully crossed the translation bridge and captured my attention.

The Trap is a unique thriller that easily falls into the domestic noir genre, made famous by the likes of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train. It sets itself apart from these novels, by cleverly combining the work of two novels. The main storyline of the novel involves Linda Conrads, a recluse who has not left her home for twelve years. This follows the tragic murder of her sister. Linda believes she saw the killer and he is still at large. It has sent Linda into a sort of post traumatic stress disorder, which leaves her unable to leave her home. Linda passes her days through writing bestselling books. Wishing to enact revenge on her sister’s killer, Linda decides to write a fiction novel. She sets about basing the novel on the events of her sister’s murder, in an attempt to reel the murderer in and obtain a confession. Subsequently, Linda’s novel ‘Blood Sisters’, is interspersed within the main narrative, so the reader feels they are getting two stories in one.

The Trap is an intense and taut thriller that really got under my skin. As I mentioned in my opening for this review, I often encounter difficulties in connecting with translated novels. This was not the case with The Trap. I found the writing to be succinct and compelling at the same time. I was also completely drawn into Linda Conrads complicated world. Linda was an interesting main character, who could be best defined as an ‘unreliable narrator’. I always find these style of books fascinating, due to the large unknown factor. As a result, I swapped and changed my opinion numerous times in relation to Linda’s involvement in her sister’s murder. I also questioned Linda’s mental state at many points in the novel. I feel Raabe wanted the reader to feel like this, it was unsettling but sucked me in nonetheless. Raabe also succeeds in creating a tense almost claustrophobic atmosphere, I felt stifled at many points in the novel. This may be due to the majority of the action taking place in Linda’s home. In terms of the big reveal, the potential killer came across as a dichotomy of suave and creepy. He remained a mystery to me throughout the novel. The final moments of the novel had a solid dose of the unexpected, suspense and thrill to leave me very satisfied.

I would recommend The Trap to readers who appreciate well executed thrillers. If you select The Trap then be prepared to strap yourself in for a ride that you won’t forget!

The Trap by Melanie Raabe was published in 2016 by Text Publishing.



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