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  • A Slow Read

    How strange it may appear, this is the first book but is released after its sequel ‘the forger’s daughter’ that I read a few months ago. I tried to pretend that I hadn’t read that, but it did spoil the story a bit as almost all that happens here, is recapped in book 2. We never learn the name of the narrator as he refers to himself as ‘I’. His girlfriend’s brother is found near dead with severed hands in his mountain hideout and dies a few days later. He’s found amidst his rare books and manuscripts of which many have been vandalised and destroyed. It turns out that Adam was a forger of signatures and inscriptions as well as a collector. It’s a small world because ‘I’ is a master forger who only stopped after being caught out. He’s specialised in Conan Doyle and Sherlockiana. Fully rehabilitated now, he works as an authenticator and cataloguer for an auction house. His girlfriend owns a second-hand bookshop, specialised in art- and cooking books. So the whole story is situated in that small world of old and rare books. A third forger, Slader blackmails ‘I’ by threatening to tell the police that he knows that he’s the murderer of Adam. With his sketchy past and having been questioned already in relation to the murder, ‘I’ decides to pay. Not a good idea, of course. If you pay once, you open the door for more. After marrying, the couple moves to Ireland and they live a pleasant, serene, and unencumbered life. That is until the blackmailer turns up again. It’s a very slow-moving book. There are long chapters where nothing happens. Apart from beautiful descriptions of the countryside, there are also long-winded reflective mutterings from ‘I’. How often and in how many ways can you say that you’re happy? The flowery sentence’s go well with the subject. If you like poetic language, this is right up your alley. In the second half, the pace picks up a bit and things start to happen. The book offers a rare insight into this rather secretive hidden world of rare book collectors that can go wild over a first edition and of course those that try to earn the extra euro by ‘embellishing’ them. The author gets even lyrical when he describes the emotions of a master forger during his craft. Okay, this book wasn’t really for me but it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad book of course. I just like a little bit more action. There is one seriously distressing part in the book, where ‘I’ considers animal cruelty to a stray dog. Any normal person would think of feeding it instead of wanting to kill it. ‘I’ wasn’t one of my favourite people anyway, but that closes the line for me. His wife was not much better; she thought to enquire if it belongs to someone. My god, the poor thing is starving and they chase it. I thank Netgalley and Atlantic Books for their free ARC and this is my honest, unbiased review of it.

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