Saturday, March 12, 2011

book review: Parallel Lives by John Tagholm

"In a sense, Majorie had saved his life and he realised this was her role, to give back to others what had been denied herself. he shook his head, as much for himself as for the dead therapist."

This is a thriller in the sense that it starts with a body being discovered and somewhat towards the end the reason for the death is revealed.

But aside from those points of crime novel construction this book moves away from the medium and is much more of a study of human beings and the way that therapy offers some people hope of finding an answer to their problems.

But once the therpaiset Majorie Nielson has been removed, abruptly in this case because it is her body being discovered that opens the book, those that depended on her for answers have to look into themselves for answers.

Not only do they have to look into themselves but for three of them, the main characters of the book, they look to each other and find that sharing their problems, fears and anxieties with others can bring some sort of resolution.

Tagholm writes character well and in this small cast you start to connect and care about the love story between Toby and Perdita. You want them to come through their darkness into the light.

Worrying about how and who might have killed Marjorie is part of answering the problems for the other remaining patient in the trio Peter Harrington. He works out what secrets he shares with the therapist and why she had to face the end she did.

But by then the focus is on happy endings and unlike most crime novels the sense of solving the crime comes almost as an after thought to the reader who has been focused elsewhere.

It's only after reading and thinking about it you realise how the death of the therapist is the crux of the whole book and even the reaction to the truth of her demise at the end is part of showing how her patients have moved on a developed in her absence.

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