Another gripping psychological action thriller from the German master - this time, with a touch of horror. I can’t call it anything else, when we begin with a psychologist telling his students the story of the Soul-Breaker, a serial killer who did not rape or mutilate his victims, but instead broke their minds, locking them in a waking stasis where they could neither move nor communicate.
The story is told as the students read the patient record of Caspar, an amnesiac being treated at the exclusive Teufelsberg clinic. There are a few things that don’t quite add up about Caspar’s account from the beginning - why wouldn’t the police have been alerted? - but these are actually explained by the villain reveal, making perfect sense in context. Yes, Caspar’s amnesia is convenient for the villain, but it also pushed them into making a move much earlier than they obviously planned.
I was really bemused and looking in the wrong direction for the villain the whole time, I have to admit. The author throws in some really clever twists and turns. And yes, just enough horror that you’re left at the end with your skin crawling, wondering if there’s one more, final twist still to come.
Tended a little too much towards horror for my tastes, but it’s so clever and well written, I can’t give it any lower than 5 stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.