“The Trap” by Melanie Raabe – Book Review

Winner of the prestigious Stuttgart Crime Prize for best crime debut of the year, “The Trap” has been called a ‘must-read’ debut thriller.the-trap-hachette-book-group

The premise is intriguing.  A reclusive novelist, traumatized by her sister’s murder, sets an elaborate trap for the murderer.  She does so by writing a novel about the crime with details enough that the murderer will recognize his part in the story. She wants to prove his guilt, thereby avenging her sister’s death.  Thus this book is a story within a story.  The second story’s title is called “Blood sisters”.  One might think that this would be confusing to the reader, but it really is not.

Linda Conrads, the protagonist, is a wealthy, best-selling novelist who has not left her house for over eleven years. She considers herself to be a broken woman. The only people she sees regularly are her publicist and friend, Norbert, and her assistant, Charlotte.  Not a healthy life for a thirty-eight year old woman who suffers from anxiety disorder and debilitating panic attacks. Linda has parents, but no longer sees them.  She believes that they think it was she who murdered her sister. She has an endearing dog who is called Bukowski due to the fact that he is unkempt and cool.

how I imagined Bukowski would look

how I imagined Bukowski would look

Linda and her murdered sister, Anna have their story retold in Linda’s fictional novel “Blood Sisters” whose main characters are Sophie and Britta.  In both stories the elder sister finds her murdered sister’s body and is highly traumatized.

Repeat themes of survivor’s guilt and self deception characterize both stories.

The book was originally written in German, but the translation is obviously done by someone from the U.K. as the book contains British jargon.  The setting of Linda’s house is on the shore of Lake Starnberg, outside of Munich.lake-starnberg-on-map

“The most dangerous lies are those you tell yourself”

The Trap”  follows the latest trend in thrillers in that it has a very unreliable narrator.  You can’t trust anything you read…

possible view of Lake Starnberg from Linda Conrads' study

possible view of Lake Starnberg from Linda Conrads’ study

I enjoyed reading this novel very much.  The suspense was maintained by short chapters with cliff-hanger endings. The author’s descriptions were beautifully rendered. However, be warned that parts of the plot cause the reader to suspend disbelief as it is very far-fetched in places. Also, the ending was predictable.f-4-star

The Beatles’ song “All you need is love” plays a predominant theme throughout the book(s) and I found myself humming it whilst reading.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group via NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in consideration of a review.

My in-person bookclub read “The Trap” for their October meeting.  Click the photo to see what Whodunit Book Club members thought about the book.


TriStar Pictures (a division of Sony Pictures), has acquired the film rights to “The Trap“. I’m sure it will be very successful and loved by moviegoers.filmstripline

There are several different covers for “The Trap“. All are good.
The blue one with the pen and the butterfly is my favorite, which is yours?




Melanie Raabe photo copyright Christian Faustus

Melanie Raabe
photo copyright
Christian Faustus


Melanie Raabe grew up in Thuringia, Germany, and attended the Ruhr University Bochum, where she specialized in media studies and literature. After graduating, she moved to Cologne to work as a journalist by day and secretly write books by night. Her novel, The Trap, won the Stuttgarter Krimipreis (Stuttgart Crime Prize) for best crime debut of the year.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in award winners, Book Reviews, debut novels, Dustjackets, novels in translation, Psychological thrillers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to “The Trap” by Melanie Raabe – Book Review

  1. Allie P. says:

    Very intriguing. Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have read it in German and loved it! Fantastic debut Novel. As far as I remember Sony Pictures got the rights on the book.


  3. Nice review! I just added The Trap to my Goodreads list. 🙂


  4. nickimags says:

    Great review! I like the sound of this one and love that blue cover with the butterfly! 🙂


  5. Annie says:

    I read also that the ending was predictable 😦 Too bad!!! Great review 😀


  6. Christine says:

    Really well done review, Lynne. Love the pix/graphics. My fave cover is 2nd from the top. May have to add this one.


  7. gkdewolfe says:

    I think the cover with the butterfly and pen is my favorite…..and you know my opinion of “The Trap”.


  8. mhmcneill says:

    Great review! This one was already on my TBR. 🙂


  9. Pingback: “The Trap” by Melanie Raabe — Fictionophile | Talofa!

  10. skyecaitlin says:

    This is a wonderful review; I like how you pictured ‘Bukowski,’ and the idea of unreliable narrators is something that pulls me into a book. This sounds good.


  11. Transhaan says:

    A book within a book. :O Sounds pretty interesting. Might have to check it out! Great review. 😀

    – Lashaan


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