Book review: The Farm by Tom Rob Smith...
Yet again I was sucked in by a book with a mysterious blurb! This is an intriguing thriller about a young man named Daniel who gets a phone call out of the blue from his father telling him his Mum is ill and is in a mental hospital, and that he should believe nothing she says. Soon after he gets a call from his Mum telling him that his father is lying, she's not mad and has uncovered a crime.
The first two thirds of the book mainly consist of Daniels mother explaining and laying down the evidence of a series of dark crimes she believes she has uncovered. Daniel agrees to hear her out and then objectively decide if he believes her. Tilde his mother sets the scene and tells a mysterious and suspense filled story of the events she has witnessed since moving to remote rural Sweden and the small town tight nit community there. I found this part hugely enjoyable, the writer really captured the feel of an isolated Winter countryside amongst strangers you couldn't trust. The story had me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what clue Tilde would reveal next. All along you had to question was she a reliable narrator- was she going through a paranoid filled psychotic episode or was everything thing she said true? I found myself changing between the two often, I wanted to believe her but could never be sure.
The last third of the book follows Daniel as he travels to Sweden and attempts to find out the truth for himself. Again I found this part really enjoyable and at times particularly sad at certain revelations.
Then there was the ending. Sometimes the ending of a book can change your whole opinion of it, and I felt so let down by the conclusion of The Farm after it had been such an enjoyable read to that point. I feel like the ending left too much in question, there were too many threads left hanging. It came so abruptly it was as if the writer had just decided that was that. I finished the last page and just felt disappointed. I understand he didn't want to give a definitive ending, letting the reader make up their mind but I don't feel he gave enough of the story to be able to reach a conclusion myself.
Despite that I still gave it 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads. I very much enjoyed most of the book and found it an interesting and multi layered take on the idea of someone loosing their mind or being made to think they had. It also looked at the idea of psychological traumas and guilt and how we deal with them. What made it more interesting was learning something like this had in fact happened to Tom Rob Smith and his Mum. The ending aside I would still recommend giving this a read, especially if you like dark Scandinavian set thrillers.
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