Atmospheric and creepy, The Farm by Tom Rob Smith, is a twisty thriller that takes you on a quest to find the truth within a family—and dares you to discover who is telling the truth.
Daniel is a young man living in London. He is somewhat of an underachiever, and he has distanced himself emotionally from his parents. When his parents retire to a farm in Sweden, Daniel contents himself with occasional phone calls to maintain contact with his parents. Sweden, after all, is his mother’s homeland, and Daniel envisions them having a bucolic life on the farm. This assumption is challenged, however, by a harried call from his father.
The phone call claims that Daniel’s mother is mentally unstable. She is developing conspiracy theories—seeing things in ways that are psychotic. His father has had her committed. As Daniel rushes to the airport, he is told that his mother has been released from the hospital. As his anxiety heightens, he receives a phone call from his mother, telling her that she is on her way to him. He is cautioned that she will run away if Daniel tells his father, and thus, the strange tale of Tilde, Daniel’s mother begins.
Upon her arrival, she uses artifacts to lay out a case against the men that live in the town where her farm is located. Her primary target is a neighbor of the farm, Hakan Greggson, who Tilde is convinced is trying to send her secret messages of disapproval and disdain. She is concerned for Greggson’s missing daughter, Mia, and takes great lengths to prove her theories.
The question that you are left with as you read The Farm is: Is Tilde crazy? Are her assertions correct? Normally, I would devour this type of novel, trying to figure out if her assertions were true. I think that if her thoughts and conclusions made logical sense, The Farm would have been a great book. Unfortunately, I thought she was completely crazy and most of the book read like the ravings of a nut. I was not able to form an attachment to Tilde as a wronged person, so I did not experience the tension I would have if I had believed her. Though in the end she is somewhat vindicated, the overemphasis on her ravings and the lack of development of other characters made this book more of a slog than an enjoyable experience. None of the other characters are really fleshed out, and I did not understand the motivations for their actions and thoughts. So, I had to rely on Tilde.
Hardcore thriller readers would probably enjoy The Farm, but I am ready to find another book and get into the mind of a more lucid character.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina