Review: Woman of the Dead by Bernhard Aichner

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Blurb: When she discovered that the men had murdered her husband she was distraught. But then she realised what she had to do. She had to track them down and kill them. One by one.

Title: Woman of the Dead

Author: Bernhard Aichner

Translator: Anthea Bell

Publisher: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, an imprint of Orion, owned by Hachette UK

Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Review:

This book concerns a woman, Blum, on her journey to finding out who is responsible for her husband’s death, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding it, and finding out why they wanted him dead in the first place, leading to some more gruesome scenes.

I must say, I really enjoyed this book. The main character, Blum, I felt had depth and complexity and I appreciate that the author didn’t bypass her grieving process and jump straight into her investigation. This definitely gave the character a more realistic feel. Alongside Blum, we see her family (and those adopted into it) which was a lovely contrast to the crime/thriller aspect as those scenes are so beautiful to read – what a loving family they seem to be with charming relationships between grandparent, parent, child and close friend. To add to that, I found it refreshing that Blum was an undertaker, a job that I haven’t seen before in a novel (maybe I’m just missing them!), giving the book and the character an interesting perspective on life and death. Without giving too much away, I really enjoyed following Blum on her investigation and I was gripped by the way that the author revealed, bit by bit, the men that she was hunting, it really kept me guessing and hungry to turn the page. These men were well thought out, with specially chosen nicknames to give you clues as to their real identities – a very clever method used by the author. I cannot help but mention the twist at the end! Even as someone to really tries to figure out the ending before I reach it, I did not see this coming, particularly as it would not make sense if the small backstory was not provided (read it and you’ll see!). The straightforward writing style really added to the enjoyability of this book for me as it worked to help build suspense during tense scenes and even perhaps went some way into showing us the stop-and-start motion of Blum’s thought process – understandable for someone dealing with stress and grief.

Overall, there was nothing that I truly disliked about this book, except perhaps I would have liked more of a look into Blum’s mind (even though the story is told from her point of view), particularly considering the prologue set eight years earlier than the main plot.

It was only upon finishing the book that I found out that this is the first novel by this author that was published in English. I can only hope that his previously published books will be translated in the future, or that his new releases will be too – particularly if they are as gripping as I found this one to be!

I would most definitely recommend this book to older readers (due to some more graphic scenes) who enjoy crime and thriller stories, especially one with a good old never-saw-it-coming twist!

Rating: 4/5

Recommend?: Yes

Have you read this book? What did you think? Have you read any of the books that come after this one? I’d love to know!

You can always find me over on Instagram and Twitter if you’d like to discuss this book (or any others that I’ve featured) in more detail 😌

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2 thoughts on “Review: Woman of the Dead by Bernhard Aichner

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