Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Farm; Tom Rob Smith

The Farm; Tom Rob Smith
Grand Central Publishing - 2014

I’ve heard wonderful things about author Tom Rob Smith, but hadn’t read any of his work.  His latest book, The Farm was picked up on my radar and I decided to give it a try.
In this story Daniel is a Londoner living a content life with his partner. His parents, Chris and Tilde have left London and retired to a rural farm in Sweden where Tilde grew up. The farm needs lots of work, but it’s what his parents wanted so he’s happy for them.  One day Daniel gets a telephone call from his father Chris in Sweden saying ….
"Your mother's not well.  She's been imagining things - terrible, terrible things. She's had a psychotic breakdown, and has been committed to a mental hospital." 
Unsure what to think, when Daniel speaks to his mother, she says….
 "I'm sure your father has spoken to you. Everything that man has told you is a lie. I'm not mad. I don't need a doctor. I need the police. I'm about to board a flight to London. Meet me at Heathrow."  
Tilde claims that Chris is involved in a criminal conspiracy. She tells her son that because of this conspiracy, he wants her out of the way. What’s a son to believe, has his mother had a psychotic breakdown? He agrees to meet his mother, Tilde, at the airport and let her stay at his home.
So the unraveling of the mystery begins.  Although Tilde seems to have done her homework, having evidence to prove what she believes to be the truth, as a reader I kept asking myself, is she a reliable narrator or is she overreacting? Just who should Daniel believe?  
I initially started this book on audio, and while it started off very strong,  there were lots of distractions and interruptions as Tilde tries to make her case by telling her story. I found the audio format too scattered. I switched to the eBook and was glad I did. This is an engaging story filled with suspense. Tilde’s recaps seemed believable, yet I still had my doubts about her reliability. The story did drag a bit in parts as Tilde attempts to get through her story, there were always phone calls or something to delay her from just “getting on with it”, all while son Daniel listens and questions her. Ultimately, Daniel needs to visit “the farm” and do his own investigation to decide for himself what is true and what may have been imagined.
It’s a great premise for a novel, and I think that this one felt like somewhat of a psychological thriller, even though there is not any real action. I guess you will have to read it for yourself and decide. For me, although not perfect, it is one of those books that I’ll be thinking about this one for a while.

4/5 (eGalley/audio)

18 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading your review Diane. I'm glad, ultimately , you enjoyed this novel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pat, I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

      Delete
  2. It does sound like a great story line!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I like trying to find out who is telling the truth Brian.

      Delete
  3. Oh, this sounds amazing! I love this kind of story that keeps you wondering who is telling the truth, while giving you all kinds of interesting details to help you decide.

    Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did really like it, but the interruptions to distract from her giving out too much info too quickly drove be a tad crazy as well. I'm an "immediate gratification" kind of gal. LOL

      Delete
  4. I feel the same way you did about The Farm, not perfect, but pretty thought provoking. I was constantly trying to figure out if Tilde was crazy or sane and Smith did a great job writing her character...she seemed 100% crazy at some points and 100% sane at others...totally kept me guessing. And I loved the ending...he could have gone totally off the rails with that.

    Also - I'm working on a post about reading vs. listening and how the same book could turn out so differently...and ordering whether it's fair for "visual" people (like myself) to review audiobooks. I'd love to include a link to this review if you don't mind!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, the link-up would be great. I also am a visual person and find myself more frequently trying to have handy both the audio and print or eBook whenever possible. Sometimes, certain types of dialogue just don't work well on audio.

      Delete
  5. The premise of this mystery does sound excellent! I'm glad you enjoyed this book, Diane, especially after switching to an ebook version. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love audios, but as I mentioned previously sometimes certain writing styles do not translate well to my ears LOL

      Delete
  6. I really like the sound of this book! Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome Beth; it is certainly worth trying.

      Delete
  7. Ever since I read Child 44, I've wanted to read all he's written.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I now want to try Child 44, previously I had no interest in it:) Glad u loved it.

      Delete
  8. This sounds intriguing in the manner of Gone Girl. I'll have to try it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I somehow ended up with a print version. I don't recall requesting it but I am glad I read your review. Now, maybe I can actually get to it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is an author I've been wanting to try too. Looks good.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Stories that skip around and about are so hard to follow on audio for me; it's definitely a time I prefer audio. I'll have to keep an eye out for this one!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.

(I apologize for the word verification, spammers spoil it for all sadly.)