Book Review: A Nearly Normal Family

A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson, Rachel Willson-Broyles  (Translation)

M.T. Edvardsson’s A Nearly Normal Family is a gripping legal thriller that forces the reader to consider: How far would you go to protect the ones you love? In this twisted narrative of love and murder, a horrific crime makes a seemingly normal family question everything they thought they knew about their life—and one another.

Eighteen-year-old Stella Sandell stands accused of the brutal murder of a man almost fifteen years her senior. She is an ordinary teenager from an upstanding local family. What reason could she have to know a shady businessman, let alone to kill him?

Stella’s father, a pastor, and mother, a criminal defense attorney, find their moral compasses tested as they defend their daughter, while struggling to understand why she is a suspect. Told in an unusual three-part structure, A Nearly Normal Family asks the questions: How well do you know your own children? How far would you go to protect them?

Review:
I enjoyed this legal thriller about a daughter accused of murder and the fallout for the family — how the charges effect them, how they react, what the parents are willing to do to protect their daughter and their “happy family” appearance.
The story is told from 3 points of view, the pastor father, the lawyer mother, and the rebellious daughter accused of murder. As the novel evolves, the family history comes out and how outward appearances are not always accurate, how “normal” is not what it always appears to be once the surface is cracked, and what families, even troubled ones, are willing to do to protect each other.
The differing points of view were a good way to explore this family and their reasons for how they acted. I liked the tension and the uncertainty around who actually committed the crime. This is not an “action packed” thriller, more of a study and I did find some parts slow, especially during the father’s point of view section. Overall, though, I liked this book and the playing with the idea of what normal is and that behind closed doors we are different from the persona we present.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a review copy of this book.
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Book Review: Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All

A madcap new novel from the #1 internationally bestselling author of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

Hitman Anders, recently out of prison, is doing small jobs for the big gangsters. Then his life takes an unexpected turn when he meets a female Protestant vicar (who also happens to be an atheist), and a homeless receptionist at a former brothel which is now a one-star hotel. The three join forces and concoct an unusual business plan based on Hitman Anders’ skills and his fearsome reputation. The vicar and receptionist will organize jobs for a group of gangsters, and will attract customers using the tabloids’ love of lurid headlines.

The perfect plan—if it weren’t for Hitman Anders’ curiosity about the meaning of it all. In conversations with the vicar, he turns to Jesus and, against all odds, Jesus answers him! The vicar can’t believe what’s happening. When Hitman Anders turns to religion, the lucrative business is in danger, and the vicar and the receptionist have to find a new plan, quick.

Fast-paced and sparky, the novel follows these bizarre but loveable characters on their quest to create a New Church, with all of Sweden’s gangsters hunting them. Along the way, it explores the consequences of fanaticism, the sensationalist press, the entrepreneurial spirit and straightforward human stupidity—and underlying all of it, the tenuous hope that it’s never too late start again.

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