Tom Rob Smith
"Until that phone call it had been an ordinary day."
If you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son.
Daniel believed that his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden. But with a single phone call, everything changes.
Your mother...she's not well, his father tells him. She's been imagining things - terrible, terrible things. She's had a psychotic breakdown, and been committed to a mental hospital.
Before Daniel can board a plane to Sweden, his mother calls: Everything that man has told you is a lie. I'm not mad... I need the police... Meet me at Heathrow.
Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother's unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father.
The Farm is one of those books that put you on teeter totter, one minute you start to believe and the next you become skeptical. I'm getting a little tired of the "big reveal" mystery, which I think has become really popular after "Gone Girl" hit the big time. I would like to say that this book gave me something different to latch onto, and it did, but just barely. For most of the readers who still crave those thrilling mysteries, this won't disappoint.
The story is told through Daniel and his mother, who has turned to him for safety after suffering from a breakdown in Sweden. She believes her Husband, Daniel's father, has sided with some locals and is no longer to be trusted. She hopes that Daniel will listen to her story with open ears (believing that he'll save her from those coming after her). The plot slowly develops as the story gets unraveled. We hear the story the way Daniel does, in slow progression with all the events in order. As much as I like the clarity the story has when told in chronological order, it loses some of that suspense when you don't know some of the consequences. I was pulled into the story more by the language and detail the Author provides. While not poetry, the Author gives us great picturesque settings and paints the characters very clearly.
One of the hardest things for me to do while reading this was to remain subjective. As the mother started ranting out things that sounded a little crazy, all I could relate this to was from my personal experiences with my own mother. I don't want to go into that much but I do have personal experience with having a family member who has experienced mental confusion, paranoia and other related issues. I know how it feels to question the facts and be torn because a parental figure is a leader, one you trust and believe, which makes questioning things that much harder. I could really relate to what Daniel was going through and I felt even more connected to the character than I thought. I tried to look at things objectively, like Daniel but found that very difficult. I was pretty convinced that his mother had lost her mind.
After pondering over the book while writing this, I've realized that I was more impressed with it than I thought I was. The biggest downfall is the pace of the book, I know that a few nights I fell asleep during a sentence which only happens when I get bored. But to be fair, this happened to me during some of my favorite books of all time, like "Les Miserables". I believe you can have boring parts in a good book! I believe that's the case with this one... it wasn't bad, no... it was actually pretty good, but I just didn't devour it like most books in this genre. I would suggest you go into reading this book when you have a little more brain power for it. This won't be a beachy thriller, this will be more of a thinker.
P.S. - I received this title free from Grand Central Publishing through NetGalley for this review.
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