Mother Dear: A Thriller
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About the Author
Nova Lee Maier is a pseudonym of Dutch bestselling author Esther Verhoef, whose psychological thrillers and novels have sold more than 2.5 million copies in the Netherlands. Esther is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NS Publieksprijs (NS Audience Award/Prix Public); the Hebban Crimezone Award; the Diamanten Kogel (Diamond Bullet); and for Mother Dear, the prestigious Gouden Strop (Golden Noose) Award for best crime thriller of the year. She is also the author of Close-Up and Rendezvous, both available in English. For more information, visit www.novaleemaier.com and www.estherverhoef.com.
Jozef van der Voort is a professional translator adapting Dutch, German, and French into English. A Dutch-British dual national, he grew up in southeast England and studied literature and languages in Durham and Sheffield. He has lived and worked in Austria, France, Luxembourg, Germany, and Belgium. As a literary translator, he took part in the Emerging Translators Programme run by New Books in German and was also named runner-up in the 2014 Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize. Mother Dear is his first translated novel.
Amazon Crossing July 1 2019
July 1 2019
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Hard to put down….held my interest all the way to the endFor me….the “test” of a good book is if I will remember the story. I will remember this story…and also the characters. I think this was especially well written….the story flowed smoothly. The characters were expertly developed….. I felt like I really “got to know them” better as the story unfolded. The story was told by 2 of the characters….Ralf and Helen. The chapters were very short (which I liked) and alternated between those two characters. Each chapter seemed to end with a “cliff hanger” . So, it was very hard to stop reading! A very interesting plot too. An all around very good read. I will definitely be looking for more by this author…..however, what I found was most of the books she has written are in German. 🙁 This one was translated into English…. I hope her other books will be too!
Disappointed . . .I had to stop reading this book. The plot line was just too gruesome for me. Chopping a body up is not a new plot but there was a disconnect in the development of the characters and story line that did not work for me in this novel. I did not really connect with any of the characters.
Preposterously unrealistic story line.Without spoiling the story by revealing what happens throughout,I can only say that there is no way real people of any temperament or persuasion would react to the main events as the characters in this story did. That said, I kept reading until the end, so it still interested me enough to finish the story, and snatches of it were good, but it was mostly so implausible that I could not rate it highly. The translation into English seemed exquisite though… not a hint there that it was not originally written in English.
How far will a mother go to protect her family?Things go sideways when Brian gets high & decides to rob the home of hard working restaurateur Werner & his recovery nurse wife, Helen. Brian slips into their posh home but never returns to the getaway car where his friend, Ralf waits. While we, the reader, learn quickly what has happened to Brian, Ralf doesn’t. The chapters go back & forth between the points of view of Helen as she deals with the aftermath of the burglary & Ralf as he seeks to solve the mystery of his missing friend. Yes, there are spots where the pacing is a little slow, but perhaps that is due to my reading a translated version. As imperfect as Helen is, as awful as Ralf was at the beginning, I still longed to know what happened to them.Also, if you read this as an American bear in mind that the gun laws we have here & how those impact our culture could have some bearing in how the novel os seen. The characters were making decisions based in a different country & in light of those laws & that culture.
The end truly made it all worth it*Possible spoiler*OMG! The book started out really good but then, there was this loooooooooooooooong portion of the book where I grew bored and began to lose interest. It took me way longer to finish this book than it normally would. I stuck it out though and I’m glad I did. Honestly, my interest started waning when Helen let Werner convince her not to call the police. I thought that was the absolute dumbest idea ever. Then, he continued to blame her for what happened when she in fact saved their lives. In the end, I was all smiles because well, read to see for yourself. The end really is the best part of the whole book. Not because it is over but because of how everything comes together. You can’t just skip to it, you have to read the whole book. Enjoy.
SpellbindingI didn’t think that this book would be any better than mediocre. Was I wrong! What a great read! Layout of pages similar to James Patterson; not too many words per page & some pages with just a few words to emphasize a point. So much action & dark relationships. Hard to put this book down.Excellent character development. Hard to determine good people from the bad. Ill have to read her Maker’s other books.
Great ReadLoved this book once I got all! the characters straight. Helen and Ralf are my heros. Ralf being a push around friend really earned my respect when he stopped letting low life individuals push him around. Helen the wife, all women know sooner or later about their men, cheating. Took her just a tad longer than myself to figure out what her no good lying husband was up to.Loved this story. No disappointment.
How to get rid of a dead body and not get caught.I didn’t find this month’s Amazon Prime First Reads book choices very exciting and picked ‘Mother Dear : A thriller’ as a bit of a ‘least worst’ option. I knew it was written by a Dutch author and I was probably hoping for something in the style of Herman Koch, a writer I really like. The theme also hinted at something similar to Koch’s ‘The Dinner’ since the blurb promised a tale of how far parents would go to cover up the crime and protect their families. Sad to say, ‘Mother Dear’ is not in the same league at all.The premise is simple. A young man, Brian, goes to rob a well-to-do couple in order to pay off his debts to his drug dealer. Things don’t go as planned and the wife ‘sort of accidentally’ kills the robber, leaving her and her husband to work out what to do with the dead body. The young man’s friend and accomplice, Ralf, was nearby during the robbery and hears three gunshots.The plot plods along rather slowly as the killers have to find ways to dispose of the body. That part seemed pretty ludicrous to me. Ralf tries to uncover what happened and how, getting involved with Brian’s girlfriend and getting to know the daughter of the family, Sara. If there’s a hero – and that’s a big if, then Ralf’s the best you’re going to find in the book. Step by step he starts to uncover some surprising coincidences until he eventually works out that things are not at all what they seem.There’s an underdeveloped use of letters to a dead mother which could have been removed completely without diluting the book. There weren’t enough of them and they weren’t sufficiently revealing to be required. We do get them thrown back at us later in the book as a sort of justification for a character’s reactions, but that same person would have been wanting to do what they did even without the letters. If I were an editor, I’d have said dump that device and move on.The final ‘crime waiting to happen’ is absolutely ridiculous. Any Brit who knows the words ‘Beachy Head’ will instantly know what’s planned. Silly stuff. And the eventual outcome is even more silly than that.3 stars seem to be a bit on the generous side. I did consider just giving it a 2-star rating. I also would suggest that calling it ‘Mother Dear: A thriller’ is indicative of a problem. If you have to tell people it’s a thriller, it probably isn’t. I wouldn’t classify this book in that genre.It’s a good, quick read with a plot that more or less comes together but some parts are just too silly for words. There are also some distracting translation issues that I found rather irritating. We’re introduced to the translator at the end of the book and told it’s his first book. Not bad for a first effort but there were things that just didn’t ring true. Strange English usage, very odd phrases when the author is trying to indicate ‘Posh’ English, and repeated use of the phrase ‘get ahold’ just didn’t work for me. Also, Dutch characters would never talk about how many calories there are in cakes. Tiny things, and not contributing to the rating, but maybe they could be addressed for later editions.
An intriguing build up through several plot linesI struggled a little with this novel at first; I think because it has been translated from the original Dutch and I found some of the cultural/location references difficult to relate to and I found it had a slow start. However that soon settled down, and it is an excellent translation. I found the intrigue building through the novel; the characters are well-rounded and develop through the story. Several plot lines run side by side until they come together towards the end – I didn’t start to pull them together until late in the story, which made it a very enjoyable read.