Woman of the Dead – Bernhard Aichner

Review published on August 22, 2016.

The blurb on the back pretty much says it all. This is a tale of revenge which is dressed up as a thriller. It would be an easy holiday read though not if you want knife-edge tension.

The main protagonist is Blum who is a female undertaker. The level of detail around the undertaking activities is good and makes those parts of the story feel believable. I later learned that the author spent time working at an undertakers and this clearly paid off when writing the book.

Blum is not a particularly likeable character. This may stem from the fact that when you first meet her, she is already involved in a not particularly nice activity. However, by the end of the book, I was willing her to ‘complete her quest’, even though it’s on the dubious side of morality.

There are a few other characters who crop up: Reza who I felt was there purely for the convenience of the storyline and not much else.

It took me a few chapters to get used to the writing style, but I think this could have been impacted by the fact the book was originally written in Austrian and subsequently translated into English.

The strapline? “Fast, edgy and gripping” – not sure I agree as it didn’t make me feel as if I couldn’t put it down which is what I get from truly thrilling books (Simon Kernick springs to mind).

The story moves along at a reasonable speed with the latter half of the book definitely picking up pace. One scene that particularly sticks with me was where Blum is pulled over for speeding but she has something in the back of the car which she doesn’t want discovered. The author does well building up the tension in that instance.

There was a slight twist at the end, which I didn’t see coming, but I suspect that others might.

I would read another of this author’s work if it came across my path but I don’t think I would necessarily seek out their work.

Tracy Mallett 3/3

Woman of the Dead – Bernhard Aichner
W&N 9781780228327 pbk May 2016

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