Thursday 10 December 2020

The Package by Sebastian Fitzek #ThePackage #SebastianFitzek @HoZ_Books #BookReview Translated by @jamiebulloch


Emma's the one that got away.

The only survivor of a killer known in the tabloids as 'the hairdresser' - because of the trophies he takes from his victims.

Or she thinks she was.

The police aren't convinced. Nor is her husband. She never even saw her tormentor properly, but now she recognises him in every man.

Questioning her sanity, she gives up her job as a doctor in the local hospital and retreats from the world. It is better to stay at home. Quiet. Anonymous. Safe. No one can hurt her here.

And all she did was take a parcel for a neighbour.

She has no idea what she's let into her home.

The Package by Sebastian Fitzek was published in hardback by Head Of Zeus on 12 November 2020, the paperback will be published in February next year. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.  

The Package is translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch

Fitzek is one of Germany's most successful crime authors, with seven novels published in the UK, and two more planned for next year. This is the first time that I've read the author, and if this story is anything to go by, then it certainly will not be my last! 

The Package opens with a prologue that is quite shocking, and very dark. The reader is introduced to lead character Emma Stein is a small child; it's the middle of the night and she's so very scared. The events of that night will forever impact the rest of her life. 

Move forward twenty-eight years later, and Emma is a leading psychiatrist. She's presenting in front of a large group of her peers, explaining the results of a recent experiment. It is clear that the majority of her audience are not impressed by what she has to say, and she is anxious and on the defence throughout. 
The night of the conference is another night of terror for Emma, she's brutally assaulted in her hotel room, her head is shaved and she believes that the attacker is the man known as 'The Hairdresser'. 
The Hairdresser has murdered his previous victims though ... why has Emma been allowed to live?

What follows is a complex and challenging story that follows Emma and her closest friends and family as they try to make sense of what has happened. The reader becomes aware that Emma may not be the most reliable of narrators, she has previously created stories and told lies, both personally and professionally.

Things get increasingly fraught for Emma, and when she takes in a package for a neighbour, her life really does spiral out of control. She doesn't recognise the name on the address label, she hasn't left her home for months, how can she possibly deliver the package, and what if the mystery neighbour knocks on her door?

Fitzek takes his readers on a journey that is fast-paced and filled with reveals. Theres's a feeling of both terror and anxiety as Emma becomes more and more unhinged, she's tortured by her past, and by what's happening to her in the present.

This is an accomplished and well put together novel of suspense and intrigue. Emma is a character of many layers, and her supporting cast are well developed, although most are as flawed as she is.

The Package is an intense read that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. 

Sebastian Fitzek is one of Europe's most successful authors of psychological thrillers. 

His books have sold 12 million copies, been translated into more than twenty-four languages and are the basis for international cinema and theatre adaptations. 

Sebastian Fitzek was the first German author to be awarded the European Prize for Criminal Literature. 

He lives with his family in Berlin.

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