March 20, 2008

Books: The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr

On a day as unremarkable as any other, Cora Bender, a young mother decides to commit suicide at a local park. Somehow she is distracted from her task and instead savagely attacks and kills a young man in full view of her husband and son, as well as dozens of witnesses. She readily confesses to her crime and wants to be punished in a suitable way, but the investigating detective, Rudolf Grovian, is driven to discover why Cora committed this crime. Initially he is led through a maze of lies, but he is determined to get to the bottom of the case, which involves uncovering dark and horrific secrets from the young woman's past.

Not so much a 'whodunnit' as a 'whydunnit', 'The Sinner' is a superb yet disturbing psychological thriller that is hard to put down. Hammesfahr is a big name in crime fiction in her native Germany, and this is the first of her books to be translated into English. If this is anything to go by, there are more treats to come.

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