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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

(65)Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

Summer House with Swimming Pool

Pages: 400
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publication Date: June 3, 2014


Dr. Marc Schlosser is not your typical family practitioner.  Even though he hates the human body he takes his job seriously and makes an effort to spend at least twenty minutes with each patient. He works hard, but he is looking forward to taking his wife, their two daughters and getting away for a summer vacation. A little by chance and a little by his design they end up at the summer house of famous actor, Ralph Meier.  Meier and his wife have two boys close in age to his girls so the good doctor is sure that it will be a successful vacation.  The fact that Meier's wife, Judith, has been coming on to him is only a bonus in his eyes. As the summer days go on, Schlosser's "daddy senses" kick into overdrive.  Observing the actor in action leaves him feeling as if Ralph Meier is a predator that is preying on his daughters.  When something horrible happens to his oldest daughter and Ralph Meier is MIA the doctor comes to one conclusion, Meier is guilty.  And he has only one choice, find a way to get even.  And that opportunity presents itself when Meier goes to see the doctor about a lump.   Will Schlosser get the revenge he craves or will his profession keep him from exacting his revenge.  And then there is the little fact that he doesn't know for sure if Ralph Meier is the man who hurt his baby girl. 

When I started Summer House with Swimming Pool I didn't realize that it was written by a Dutch author and not set in America, so I was a little confused at first about some of the references. I struggled on how to categorize the novel, Fiction or Mystery.  The majority of the book would be considered Fiction, but you know it is building towards something.  Then you spend the rest of the book trying to figure out what happened, just like the good doctor.    Also, the book is written as if Marc Schlosser was telling you the story over a couple of beers, so it really feels as if you are getting in his head.  Frankly it was a bit scary at times, reading the thoughts that run through his head as he deals with patients, his family, and his friend's beautiful wife.  As the story progresses you can feel the intensity increase and there is almost a sense of desperation for him to find out who is responsible for hurting his daughter.   I won't lie, the end is a bit of a shocker and it left me a bit speechless. 

Bottom line, Summer House with Swimming Pool is a suspenseful thriller that may start out a little slow, but builds with each page you turn.  If you are looking for a suspenseful read to break up all of the beach reads, then this book is definitely for you!

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