Friday, January 18, 2008

The Sinner-Petra Hammesfahr

The Sinner
Petra Hammesfahr
Bitter Lemon, Jan 2008, $14.95
ISBN: 9781904738251

Police commissioner Rudolf Grovian decides to conduct an inquiry into the Cora Bender homicide case. In a park filled with people who witnessed Cora knife to the death n apparent stranger while her stunned husband Gereon tried to stop her after she slit the victim’s throat. Although the local cops arrest Cora as the case is obvious with so many including her child and spouse seeing her do the act, Rudolf is fascinated by the culprit’s behavior.

He interviews Cora trying to understand her motive for killing an apparent stranger. Instead Cora explains her family dynamics; not with Gereon who she loves and owes a debt of gratitude for allowing her to escape; instead with her blood family. Her mother hates her for being born and destroying her lifestyle with her birth; her disabled sister totally depended on Cora for everything. Still the cop struggles to comprehend why even as Cora explains her sexual obsession inside a religious fanaticism which bewilders him further.

This is a deep psychological crime thriller in which the audience learns the demons that haunt and obsess Cora. The story line rotates first and third person perspectives but that works quite nicely as the first person enables the reader to get inside Cora while the third person keeps the investigating exciting. Sub-genre readers will appreciate the character driven THE SINNER from the opening sequence when Cora almost kills Gereon with her powerful legs during a sexual moment until the final revelations that shake up Rudolf (and the audience).

Harriet Klausner

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