ARC received from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
5 out of 5 stars
My village had become the home of “the murder farm,” and I couldn’t get the story out of my mind.
This story has something pervasive in its language and in the story telling. I am unable to get the words and the images and the ideas out of my mind. My imagination is consumed with images and I can feel the cold, hear the storm, and imagine how lonely it would be for those living on the farm.
A reader of this book must approach this book in a different fashion to most crime novels – it is unconventional and therein lies its cleverness. The story is linear but fragments around multiple narrators, each unique voice telling their part and how they connect with murder victims. Each narrator, it seems, has no agenda or anything to hide, however, each one unreliable, spinning the story to their own histories and experiences. Even the victims and their relatives seem sympathetic without being likeable. The persistent references to “tittle-tattle” suggest to me that each of them knows far more than they are willing to divulge.
Some books are impressive because of the story they tell – others are impressive because of the feelings they create. This book is impressive for both story and feeling. The writing style itself is perfectly pitched to keep the reader wound up and wanting to turn the page. The book itself isn’t overly long and so it is a relatively quick read. On occasion, a short story suffers from lack of substance but there is no hint of this problem in The Murder Farm. There were few descriptive parts throughout but Schenkel always provides just enough for you to imagine the scene. Fans of Norwegian crime dramas will enjoy this book as will fans of cinema as this book would be easily adapted to tv or film.
Originally published in 2006 by Nautilus, translated in 2008 by Anthea Bell and first published in the US by Quercus, this book truly deserves the positive attention it is receiving.