Gianrico Carofiglio effortlessly translated by Patrick Creagh

Bitter Lemon paperback original, pbk 7.99

Released: March 11th 2010

Reviewer: Russell James


Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.


This book is unusual in that it is written entirely in the present tense and in the first person.  It is a journey through the troubled mind mind of a young business woman compelled to give up a successful career to care for her two children, born only fifteen months apart,  She is exhausted, particularly by the elder, her daughter Cassie, who is a little monster, playing the parents off against each other. I found it difficult to accept that so young a child would be so deliberately evil. Relations between the parents are complex and passionate, but I could have done without gratuitous descriptions of sex.  

Tension builds up in the mother's head, which leads to a chilling climax, which it would be unfair to reveal.  Enough to say that it results in Cassie's death. In desperation she looks for, and finds, a job,  Her husband, Daniel, reluctantly agrees to this, but she is taken on only on the understanding that it will become full time, a fact which she conceals,  When Daniel realises that he has been deceived he withdraws from his wife and concentrates on his son, Zach. When the couple go away for a holiday relations appear to be improved, but are they?  Back home, Zach is playing in the garage under the inattentive eye of Daniel's mother when Daniel's car is heard approaching. Is Zach's mother going to warn him, or?   And that is more or less the end.  The book ends on a  tantalising question. 

I found this quite interesting and convincing as a psychological study, and sufficiently compelling to keep me reading on.






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