THE TRAP by Melanie Raabe
CBTB Rating: 4.5/5
The Verdict: unputdownable binge-read
There's no other way to say it: THE TRAP held my attention from the first page to the very last. A twisty-turny psychological thriller, this book makes a maddening mind game out of an exquisitely simply plot. If you're looking for a book that will make you want to forego TV in favor of binge-reading, this might just be it.
THE TRAP introduces readers to Linda, a bestselling author. 12 years ago, Linda's sister was murdered. In a horrific twist of fate, Linda discovered her sister's body, and caught a glimpse of the murderer before he fled the scene. Fast forward a decade, and Linda has become a recluse—she suffers from crippling anxiety, and hasn't left her home in 10 years. One day, while scrolling through television channels, Linda can hardly believe her eyes: she sees him – the murderer – on her television screen. Linda's protective cocoon is suddenly shattered, and she begins to formulate a plot: her next book will be a crime novel describing her sister's murder down to the smallest detail, and through her novel, she will set a trap for the murderer, serving him the justice he evaded years before.
As a crime fiction addict, I was completely drawn to this story by the plot alone. I had no idea how quickly I would become wholly invested in Raabe's story of emotional and mental turmoil. This story really is a mind game—a great majority of the story plays out in one setting, Linda's home, yet it twists and turns with an unpredictably that makes it totally engrossing and never stuffy. Linda is the ultimate unreliable narrator, and I felt glued to the book as she navigates her own anxiety, and tries to uncover the truth surrounding her memories of her sister's death.
My favorite moment of this book as a reader came when I was about halfway through. I was feeling very confident that I had figured out exactly what was really going on... when Raabe had one of her characters essentially outline my exact theory and laugh in its face. I actually burst out laughing myself at that moment—laughing at my own overconfidence, and in complete gleeful awe of Raabe's ability to completely fool me. There's just nothing like a story that draws you in and promptly blindfolds you, only allowing you to see what the author wants you to see. THE TRAP completely had this effect on me.
The only possible downside that I could see readers encountering might be the way the story is so centralized in Linda's mind. I was never once bored by this quality, but I can imagine that readers looking for a high-action psychological thriller might be disappointed. Truly though, this story has so many twists and turns and follows such a thoroughly unpredictable and unreliable narrator, I never considered the few changes of scenery a negative—if anything, I felt they highlighted Raabe's skill as an author. Raabe makes a maze out of the human mind, and I loved getting lost in it.
THE TRAP is a must-read this summer. I found it totally engrossing and entertaining, with a stellar plot and exceptional execution. This would be an excellent introduction to the crime fiction genre for new readers, and it will likewise please crime readers who look for books with less gore and more psychological suspense. Simply put, I adored Melanie Raabe's THE TRAP, and feel quite confident it will appeal to fans of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins, IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware, and I LET YOU GO by Clare Mackintosh.
THE TRAP releases July 5th, 2016, from Hachette.