Book Review: The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

The Farm

“Daniel believed that his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden, the country of his mother’s birth. 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. In fact, she has 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. Presented with a horrific crime, a conspiracy that implicates his own father, Daniel must examine the evidence and decide: who is telling the truth, his mother or his father? And he has secrets of his own that for too long he has kept hidden…”

This was recommended to me on Facebook by a friend who reads – and enjoys – similar books to me, so I downloaded it without reading anything about it – or about the author. I have not read his critically acclaimed Child 44 trilogy – so was coming at it totally cold.

The book is told in places through Daniel’s eyes – and partly through his mother Tilde recounting stories, and this flows well. I was intrigued to read more and find out what happened. The writer clearly uses his own Swedish roots to set the scene very well for the sections set over there, and the various celebrations etc.

I can’t really talk much about the actual storyline without giving away what it’s about – and the conclusion – so I won’t!

There are some huge leaps of faith in parts – with characters whizzing around the Swedish countryside, and some characters are introduced without you really finding out much about them at all – Daniel’s partner and Father being two very peripheral characters that aren’t properly introduced at all and yet could have played much more significant roles.

The ending is a bit odd. One huge element of the storyline is tied up neatly – but there are still lots of lose threads in other areas – particularly with regards to Daniel and his family. I’m not sure if this has been left for a sequel – or if we are never to find out how they all move on from the repercussions of the events in the book.

Overall I enjoyed this and wanted to keep reading – but it didn’t completely knock me off my feet. I would definitely try books by this author again though.

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