The gripping thriller that has everyone talking
by Dirk Kurbjuweit
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Pub Date 06 Sep 2018 | Archive Date 06 Sep 2018
Orion Publishing Group, Orion
The Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Irish Times Book of the Year.
'Something we've not seen before in contemporary crime fiction' GUARDIAN
'[An] uncomfortably close-to-home thriller' SUNDAY TIMES CRIME CLUB
'As intellectually stimulating as it is gripping' DAILY TELEGRAPH, BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2018
'Takes you right into the heart of darkness' MAIL ON SUNDAY
'A must-have new read' DAILY EXPRESS
'Wonderfully sinister' THE OBSERVER
'Frightening' THE TIMES
'Terrific' JOANNE HARRIS
'Brilliantly done' FIONA BARTON
'A great achievement' HERMAN KOCH
'Claustrophobic and unsettling' BBC NEWS
'[A] creepy tale of obsession' SUNDAY MIRROR
'An unsettling tale of merciless self-scrutiny' RENEE KNIGHT
'A terrifying study of a family threatened by the tenant living downstairs' WOMAN & HOME
How far would you go to protect your family?
Family is everything. So what if yours was being terrorised by a neighbour - a man who doesn't listen to reason, whose actions become more erratic and sinister with each passing day?
You go to the police, but they can't help you. You become afraid to leave your family at home alone. But there's nothing more you can do to protect them.
Or is there...?
FEAR is a brilliantly grippling, original psychological thriller - for fans of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL and THE DINNER.
FEAR is translated from the German by Imogen Taylor
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 137 members
This is such a unique quirky read but it is also the first read this year to give me literal nightmares! Out of a staggering 56 read so far! The plot and themes really get inside your head.
Fear is written by German author Dirk Kurbjweit and loosely based around his own real life case of being stalked. Stalking or most so terrorising is the central theme and it is so subtle yet eerie and fear provoking all at the same time. Randolph is the protagonist he is reluctant, kind and maybe slightly too passive and a successful Architect by trade. His wife Rebecca is the real intended victim of the stalker with every attempt being made one to strike at her emotions and generate fear. They also have two young children Paul and Fay. What they don’t know when they move into the flat in Berlin is that it harbours a rather sinister secret within its basement in the form of the neighbouring tenant.
The stalking begins with biscuits and treats and is taken as it should be a friendly gesture of kindness. However, it quickly develops into poetry and letters. The basement tenant Dieter is relentless in his approach to victimise and terrorise the family, especially Rebecca. What starts as innocent over shows at attempts of affection escalates into sexualised harassments and intimidation. Eventually Dieter fully accuses Randolph and Rebecca of abusing their own children. They begin to both become self-conscious and self-accusatory and their marriage begins to suffer.
One thing that really struck a chord with me with this novel, is that early on whilst receiving no help from the police at all. The couple begin to play down Dieters disturbing behaviour. I am not criticising their experiences, just wonder why do we do that in society? It’s almost as if we rush to assume that something we did actively contributed towards someone victimising us? Often we like to think when reading a novel that’s dark and haunting, that it could never happen to us, but as this novel shows essentially it can happen to anyone!
There is a backstory surrounding Randolph’s father being in jail for murder. The obvious conclusion is drawn that it is linked to the case, but to learn the full truth we must read the novel to discover. Randolph’s childhood is talked about and he perhaps too often repeats that he had a normal/happy childhood and is thoroughly middle-class. Dieter on the other hand grew up subjected to abuse, humiliation, physical beating and sexual assaults. Could this be his motivation for tormenting the family? Is Dieter jealous of the family’s previous happy state? Is their Happiness the source of his rage?
With friends, family members and even the children affected by Dieter’s continued passive aggressive actions the question becomes what is Randolph going to do about it? They exhaust the legal procedures. Sgt Leidinger can provide no further support due to their being no anti-stalking laws at this time. The family hits breaking point!
This novel would make ideal reading for book groups as the plot raises so many questions. Why do we allow casual sexual harassment? Why do we wait to be attacked? Why do we our legal systems undermine the power that slander and accusations can have in a modern world? I thoroughly recommend this novel for fans of the thriller genre and as I have stated it will get in your head! 5*
Excellent book with great characters. Very well written. I would recommend this book.
Wel, this is definitely a thriller with a difference. From the outset we know the crime, the motive and the murderer........ so what's the catch? And how can it be so damn page turning despite all this!
A German architect is this books narrator. The fact it is a translation is clear. It is certainly a very different and unique tone of voice compared to the psych thriller genre staples that have been done to death now, if you'll excise the painful pun!
I'm not sure I loved, but I turned those pages, and am waiting for someone to discuss it with now! So for all those reasons it has to have been a good read!
Good book, good plot. Page turning would certainly recommend to family and friends.
I confess I was expecting a thrill packed read but instead this is an interesting read about the nature of fear. I found it pretty enjoyable and I would recommend it.
Tremendous story, about a great "what if" scenario and how far someone will go to get something done, an ordinary person. Easy to relate to and a great nail biter of a story!
I was given a free ARC of this book in return for an honest review.
I read this book in 2 days. There is something about the way it is written that made me unable to put it down. A fascinating insight into the way families interact and see their relationships.
" When our lawyer told me that she didn’t think the law could help us, but she could organise a gun for us, reality came to an end. From then on we lived in the realm of the unimaginable." Dirk Kurbjuweit
Loosely based on his own disturbing experience of being stalked Fear is the first of this German journalist' sixth novel to be translated into English.
I have a feeling about this book, it is going to be ones those novels when word of mouth is going to play a huge part in its inevitable success.
A gripping, elegant urban novel that asks the question what do you do when the police and courts seem unable to protect your family that is under under threat from the most insidious individual who clearly means to do you harm.
It challenges you every step of the way on your thoughts on gun control, child abuse, memory, fear and family life and always that undercurrent of "What would I do, how far would I go?"
It will leave you reeling and thinking about it days after...reminding yourself “It's only a story” and then remembering it wasn't
ARC from NetGalley - thank you
This book is superbly written. By reading the blurb I expected a straightforward stalker thriller. It was much, much more.
Because I read so many books, it was quirky to read something that was either translated or else written where English is not the author's main language. It made me more aware of the words that we use and it was a satisfying difference.
The story is being written by the main character and covers his childhood and family relationships, and compares them to his relationships later in life with his extended family of his wife and chlldren. In doing so, I felt that the words spoke volumes about things that were unsaid, and in fact did not need to be voiced.
Simply superbly written. I am still thinking about this book, That's rare for me. Very highly recommended.
Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for.n honest review.
This book had my emotions all over the place, I couldn't put it down from when I picked it up. The author knows how to get inside your head and just keep you guessing. 5 huge stars from me!!
This is a slow burn thriller which is one of my favorites. The insight to the family relationships and reflection of the central character are highly intriguing.
A gritty and in places disturbing thriller. Could someone make your life so miserable that you want to kill them? The story is told by Randolph. The accusations his wife and him endured are horrific. Their life continually keeps getting worse. Getting rid of the lodger in the flat below them is the only answer. But is killing him the only solution?
A creepy tale which makes you evaluate your own relationships and your vision of right and wrong and how these views can be distorted. The story is told with the added benefit of hindsight and acts as a warning of how the words and deeds of a person can set off a chain of events, which once underway, gather momentum and have profound effects. A book to make ponder which has put the author on my list of ones to watch out for!
I have no idea how to review this book. Did I like it? I'm not sure. Did I dislike it? Definitely not. Has it provoked a lot of thoughts in my consciousness? Absolutely.
I'm pretty sure that Kerbjuweit would forgive me for that response. Fear is clearly designed, like it's character Tiberius to provoke and provoke it did. But, unlike the editorial reviews on the book jacket I'm afraid Fear didn't bring me to wish Tiberius dead or want Randolph to act as he did.
While the book certainly made me question many things, the truth and lies we tell ourselves about our parents, our childhoods, our own marriages and relationship with our children, to the role that genetics plays in shaping our character and within the plot, to whether we would pack up and move or stay and fight a nightmare neighbour, one thing it failed in was to get me emotionally invested in Randolph and Rebecca. I didn't actually believe that the family was in any danger and so none of Randolph's impotent rage and Rebecca's irate outbursts made sense to me.
Kerbjuweit's introduction, which I re-read after I'd finished the novel, explains that the book is written from personal experience but after a period of time so as to not make it a 'revenge book'. I wonder if maybe the passage of time has taken away the personal connection that I as a reader so much needed.
I also wonder if as a British reader, perhaps the translation from German isn't helping or perhaps the style simply isn't as sentimental as I am used to? At one point I genuinely wondered if the book would result in it all having been in Randolph's mind and that he was actually the danger to his family.
The book will stay with me though, uncomfortable things, like an itchy label in a shirt often do, and steal your attention far more than a soft sweater. I didn't get exactly what the author wanted but I am left considering all the moral questions that he presented to us readers.
This is a dark thriller that literally made my nerve endings tingle... with FEAR!
Fear is the modern urban tale of a family under threat, a family scared in their own home and it brings into question how far would YOU go to protect those most precious to you from an outside threat? Its disturbing, its thought provoking and it is god damn scary. Its not a race through the pages, high octane thriller, but we need to learn a novel doesn't need to be to send the fear of god into you... it can be a slow burner, a disturbing, slow mind bender of a story that chills you to the core. The undercurrent of fear followed me onto every page, and this book has haunted me for a long time after i finished it.
We watch as life gets claustrophobic for the laid back Randolph and his beautiful wife Rebecca, we see what begins as an seemingly innocent act of the downstairs neighbour ( Deiter) leaving a plate of biscuits, spirals of control and escalates into a serious case of stalking. The successful, middle class couples marriage starts to suffer as the stress of the situation takes its toll on them both. I couldn't put this down, it was such a compelling read... I can only describe it as a really intimate, fly on the wall look at a normal family, put in a terrifying situation, the effects and how they deal with it... moral codes are called into question, we learn a lot of back story about both Randolph and Dieter and we start to really question the line between right and wrong.
Its claustrophobic and uncomfortable and really makes you empathise with the family.
We know there is a crime, we know the motive and from the very outset we know the perpetrator, so a straightforward thriller focused on the subject of stalking this is not. It looks at how a family like yours or mine might protect themselves when the police and court system fails us- and the fact this COULD happen to anyone is what makes this so disturbing and utterly readable.
Clever, very well written... 5 stars and highly recommended.
A surprisingly good read! I say surprising because I have previously never enjoyed a book written by an author whose first language isn't English. However, this is so well written, with an unusual premise and a menacing undercurrent, I found myself hooked. I can't say that I enjoyed it, as it's an uncomfortable read. However, I would recommend as its all the better for being uncomfortable.
Fear is written by German Author Dirk Kurbjuweit and is loosely based on his own personal experience of being stalked by a neighbour, which makes this story all the more chilling. The protagonist Randolph narrates the entire story beginning with the fact his elderly father has just shot and killed Randolph's neighbour.
"Fear" then takes us on a journey through Randolph's childhood and strained relationship with his father throughout his life, often over examining his memories and recollections and making the reader question Randolph's version of his childhood. Fear has been translated into English and therefore the language and prose makes the reader work that little bit harder, but nevertheless this is a chilling and terrifying account of being stalked in your own home and trying to protect your wife and young family when the authorities can't help.
An uncomfortable, claustrophobic story that will send shivers down your spine and make you think how far you would go to protect the ones you love.
Compelling tale of fear both psychological a physical relating to the real life worries of family life with a surprise ending g that's keepsake reader guessing. Great read.
Written well, felt almost like an autobiography. Found it a little stilted in places but the characters were believable and I liked the twist towards the end and didn't see it coming.
Not for the faint hearted, this book provokes a lot of emotions and doesn't follow the guide of right and wrong, but a story of relationships and how they define us and our actions
At the front of this book is a 'Dear Reader' and a short explanation of how this book came about. It's loosely based on a true story but, of course, we don't know which parts are fact and which are fabrication to bolster a sinister fictional story.
The book has been translated from German and has an unmistakable precise, clipped, Germanic feel. It is also compared with We Need To Talk About Kevin and I can see some similarities, but this is not so depressing.
This is one of those stories that starts at the end, we know what the outcome is. In this case, we are told in the first chapter that Randolph's father has been sentenced to imprisonment, at the age of seventy-seven, for shooting in the forehead at point blank range, Randolph's basement neighbour, Dieter Tiberius.
The story then goes back and forth in time from when Randolph and his family first moved in to their apartment above Dieter, and back further to give us a view of Randolph's childhood with a father he was scared of who 'collected' guns and was a master marksman.
At first, Randolph, Rebecca and their two children, have a good relationship with Dieter. Dieter bakes cakes and biscuits and even leaves plates of them on their doorstep. All goes well until the day Rebecca meets Dieter in the laundry room and he makes a lewd comment about her underwear. Then the accusations start that he hears them sexually abusing their children. Randolph needs to clear their name before social services are called in to remove their children.
Much of the book, although there are many facets to the story and characters, is of Randolph's struggle with the brick wall legal system in trying to prove their innocence and that Dieter Tiberius' is guilty of slanderous assaults on them.
I really enjoyed the book. The characters are well developed and interesting to read about. There is an element of tension with the promise of doom running all the way through – this can't possibly end well. This is a realistic, sophisticated and grown-up version of the usual psychological thriller.
A very different novel in the sense that at the start we know who committed a murder and why. Its a gripping read that takes you deep into the antics of a stalker and the fear of its victims, the desperation of a family who cannot take any more. I see this book doing exceptionally well.
Fear is psychological thriller with a difference.
At the beginning of the novel we learn that the protagonist’s elderly dad is in prison for shooting a neighbour who was terrorising his family. What follows is the build-up to how and why he took those measures.
Translated from German, the writing style of this book has a distinct Germanic feel to it which I enjoyed. It’s written from the protagonist Randolph’s sole perspective with a stream of consciousness narration. I’ve enjoyed this style in the past, but I did find Randolph a slightly strange, monosyllabic narrator which made it hard for me to truly get on his side. I don’t know if this was the intention to create further intrigue (didn’t work for me) or if it was something lost in translation.
It did create suspense though, and I felt for Randolph every time the police and lawyers failed to help him. His complaint was that his neighbour was sending abusive notes to him and his wife, claiming that he knew they were sexually abusing their two children. This is obviously a terrible thing to be accused of if innocent, as we believe them to be.
However, I didn’t understand some of Randolph’s reaction. He basically went into a meltdown and started wondering if it was true. Had he ever touched them inappropriately when bathing them etc. Has his wife? Now, I don’t have children but I’m pretty sure if I did I would know if I’d touched them inappropriately. I mean, WTF.
Also the fact that him and his wife were slightly estranged and didn’t trust each other either made me question them more, added to the weirdness of his childhood stories about his gun-mad dad and always thinking he might shoot someone – I found it hard to relate to any of them. That being said, this all created a lot of intrigue, and along with some very dark, compelling moments, kept me reading.
it wasn’t a quick read, however. I found it a little slow with all the backstory and a bit too long. However, if you enjoyed We Need to Talk About Kevin, and/or want something a little different than your average psychological thriller then definitely give Fear a go! Bit of wait until it’s released though, soz!
This is quite a different book. It is based around the authors experiences of being stalked. We are told from the outset of the crime that has been commited, who commited it and who the victim was.
It is written from the viewpoint of the main protagonist, Randolph. The author states at the very beginning that Randolph is a version of himself.
So initially we start in present day when Randolph has just phoned the police to report the murder. We are then taken back to Randolph's childhood, his years growing up in a still divided Germany, how he met his wife Rebecca and his life after. These details, for me, provide the main crux of the story, they are wrapped around the events leading up to and including the murder that takes place.
The murder was the result of Dieter, the neighbour and his unhealthy obsession with Randolph and Rebecca's family. Dieter has accused them of abusing their children Paul and Fay. He is initially friendly towards the family when they move into the flat above him, but soon things change and he begins a reign of terror.
So essentially there are two stories running in this book, that of Randolph and his life story, then, that of Dieter and his terrorising of the family. There is a huge amount of information in this book and explores a vast array of topics, such as, status, class and culture, as well as lots of observational accounts of living in a divided Germany at a time of great change. It is a good genre spanning book with crime, thriller, psychological aspects and fiction.
This book is written as an account of events, it is set at a good pace with well described and developed characters. I would recommend this book to readers of Crime and Thriller, Psychological Thriller and also Fiction.
Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit is for anyone who has ever had a nightmare neighbour. Admit it, we’ve all had one! I can still remember how I went out of my way to avoid a certain neighbour who lived in the flat beneath me. I still shudder at her annoying habits. She used to bang on the ceiling at the slightest noise and whine at me. I can’t say this particular situation ever escalated to murder though.
Fear traces the impact of Dieter Tiberius on one family. It is inspired by events that actually took place and this shows. The scenario feels very authentic. One middle aged man becomes a nightmare problem for a family. We find out that a man in his seventies is behind bars for his murder. What drove him to kill?
Randolph is in his forties, an unhappily married professional with two children. It is his father that has been convicted of murder. He recounts the tale of buying a flat and moving in. He encounters Dieter, a new neighbour. A man described as fat and lazy. Yes, he makes an impression straight away. The relationship between Dieter and the family starts quite well, with gifts left. A love letter is then found on the mat, addressed to the wife, Rebecca, which sparks bad feelings. Bizarre accusations of child sexual abuse are made. Events escalate, as Dieter continues to act strangely and inappropriately. The police don’t seem to be taking the family’s concerns seriously. At what point does the family crack and decide to take matters into their own hands? What makes a nice middle class German family kill?
Oooo I really loved this one. It hit a nerve with me. I could completely empathise with the poor family demonised by their neighbour. Dieter seems twisted and in turmoil about his childhood. He is a survivor of abuse. He seems to be projecting what he went through onto Randolph and Rebecca. With the law seemingly useless in a situation of increasing intimidation and threats, it really is no wonder that the family feel isolated and fearful. There seems to be no anwers from the law about how to proceed. Anyone in their position would move house as soon as they could. I would.
Dark, highly emotive and intensely sad. I couldn’t help but feel that the family and Dieter should have had some kind of professional intervention. Someone should have seen the warning signs. No one should have to live with neighbours from hell. Highly recommended.
Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit.
YOU'D DIE FOR YOUR FAMILY.
BUT WOULD YOU KILL FOR THEM?
Family is everything.
So what if yours was being terrorised by a neighbour – a man who doesn’t listen to reason, whose actions become more erratic and sinister with each passing day? And those you thought would help – the police, your lawyer – can’t help you.
You become afraid to leave your family at home alone. But there’s nothing more you can do to protect them.
This was a very good read with good characters. I liked the story. How well do we know our neighbours? 4*. Netgalley and orion publishing group.
Absolutely loved FEAR.
Brilliant in every way a must read.
This German book translated to English deals with a narrator whose rhythm is different than what the normal thriller reader will be used to. Saying this, it also brings something new to the table which will give readers something new to gnaw their teeth on.
The main plot deals with a man who is desperate to protect his family when he has no one else to turn to as the police and the court system proves to be no help. The story is very enriched with questions and social dilemmas that will test your views on child abuse, gun control, protection of property and family, etc. This is a very interesting and as there are different sensibilities due to the country of origin of the novel being Germany, this gives the novel a lot of food for thought.
The narrator is Randolph is trying to protect his family and he comes across as an unreliable narrator as you are seeing things from his point of view but not given a total 360 degree narrative. This lends itself for the reader to be placed into his shoes and look at the situation from his view point.
This is a gripping read and one that would very much enhance any reading group as there is enough found within the pages to start very interesting discussions. The writer really has a grip and is able to give enough background information to really immerse yourself into the story.
This is an excellent read and one that will haunt you days and even weeks afterwards. This is a mandatory must read.
A very well done novel about what perception does to the human mind. How does unreasoning fear influence decisions about action to be taken in a stressful event. Randolf Tiefenthaler is a successful architect living and working in Berlin. He has a beautiful wife, Rebecca, and two delightful children. Due to his success he moves his family into a beautiful upscale apartment. Every thing looks wonderful. He likes his neighbors and gets along as well as could be expected with them. One of them is an older man named Dieter Tiberius who at first blush seems friendly although somewhat aloof. Unfortunately Dieter changes and his behavior becomes more malevolent.
Randolph becomes more and more disturbed by Dieter's behavior. Dieter develops a fascination for Rebecca and begins sending erotic letters to her. He also accuses Randolph's family of child molestation and files police reports against them while openly spying on them. Randolph files counter police reports against his antagonist but gets nowhere. He begins to feel himself unable to take care of his family and inadequate as a protective husband and father. Somewhat estranged from his own father he finally asks him for advice on what to do. Randolph's childhood with the man that sired him was one of apparent distance and fear of the many guns his father had in the house.
As a possible result of the consultation held with his father Dieter is shot dead in his own apartment. Randolph's father is arrested for the crime and sent to prison. Randolph goes through a period of self analysis which has him calling into question his own masculinity, the rule of law and violence in general. The meditation leads to him questioning his own inadequacy , the concept of middle class privilege and the whole spectrum of a "civilized" life.
This is Mr Kurbjuweit's seventh book, and the first one translated into English. The concepts developed in this novel are certainly cause for thought and will certainly develop a taste for more on the part of the reader.
A creepy story of stalking. The title is very apt. Well worth reading
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book as an arc.
I thought this was an excellent book, albeit not quite what I was expecting! It tells the story of a German family who are being tormented by the man who lives in the basement flat below them. He makes accusations of child abuse and reports the parents to the authorities continually. The couple, Randolph and Rebecca, receive no help or support and become increasingly desperate to rid themselves of the tenant.
I thought this would be more of a thriller, instead it was a literary journey through Randolph's childhood, his family and his marriage. The fear alluded to in the title, was the fear he had lived with all his life, not just the fear engendered by the stalking that his family suffered. It is an excellently written book, translated from the original German, which I really enjoyed, and one which is told exclusively from Randolph's point of view. The way his childhood, and the relationships with each family member is recounted, is extremely effective and evocative.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it certainly got under my skin and made me feel uncomfortable!
Dirk Kurbjuweit has written a well-crafted literary novel that bounces around the life of the semi-autobiographical character Randolf, his highly strung but intelligent and gorgeous wife Rebecca, and their two children. He follows their turmoil as Dieter Tiberius, the downstairs neighbour, becomes more and more sinister, appearing to threaten his wife and their children. He explores what it means to be suspected of a serious crime, of abusing your kids, how you doubt yourself and your wife, and how you overreact to compensate against those vile accusations.
This is one of those books where you’re told the ending at the beginning - the story then fills in the details that led to that conclusion. For me, I wanted to understand what made the protagonist, a self-declared middle class pacifist architect, take the action that he and his family did. Yes, I can appreciate you want to defend your property, and yes, who wouldn’t take huge steps to protect their loved ones, but, and this is a big but, other options are always available - even something as simple as moving house. Because the ending was so fatal, I wanted (needed) that build up to be so fraught, so despicable, that no other outcome would be possible.
I kept reading, hoping that some event would occur that would tie his hands and force him down that course of action but sadly, this wasn’t the case - I didn’t feel that Randolf could justify his deeds, regardless of the threat posed by Dieter, and that, for me, broke the magic of the book.
Still, this is well written, excellently translated, and thought provoking, so a solid 4/5.
Book supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.
This one is gripping, so well written and fast paced. Have you watched Nightmare Neighbors on TV, or had a nightmare neighbor. Ever wondered what you would do in that situation. Wondered what would happen if the law will not and cannot do anything to help you, become afraid to leave your family home that you cherish. This book is about one such family who are demonised by a man, a neighbour..... most people would move house..... but not this family..... no spoilers here!
Fascinating read.. but realistically, I am sure someone could have helped them!
Every so often a book draws you in, unsuspecting, then tugs you deep into its pages and doesn't let go. This book is wow worthy. I love the author's writing style, and nothing was lost in translation. I would love to see this book on the screen. It totally sank its claws into me. Would recommend highly. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the review copy.
Had me gripped from the very first page to the last. A five star winner for any fan of this genre.
This was such a good read and unlike anything I’d read before (as in nightmare neighbor plot) but tbh it was also soooooo creepy to the point I left the light on! It’s a totally freaky stalker kind of story in which you totally feel like it’s you he’s stalking! You feel so helpless and wonder how he can get away with what he does!
Won’t say too much but it totally gets out of hand and it had me literally gasping in places!
A must read for anyone who likes to be creeped out and on the edge of their seat (a lot) !!
Excellent book, serious page turner - I couldn't put it down!
Would you want to live above a man who accuses you of sexually abusing your children? This is what happens to Rudolph and his wife Rebecca. Although at times Rudolph feels he should sort Dieter Tiberius out once and for all he's not that sort of man, instead he does the right thing and goes to both the police and a lawyer. They tell him there's nothing they can do to help.
Rudolph puts pen to paper to tell you what happens with Dieter Tiberius and about his life, past and present, his doubts and fears, how although he didn't have an unhappy childhood he never felt close to his father. A man obsessed with guns and who is currently serving time for manslaughter.
Although a good story I thought it dragged on a bit at times but I must confess I didn't see the twist coming at the end. All in all quite a good read and gets four stars from me.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased review
Good thriller. Solid plot. Highly recommended.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Dirk Kurbjuweit for the copy of this book. I agreed to give my unbiased opinion voluntarily.
Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit is a psychological thriller that is very different from so many other books in this genre because the reader knows up front who committed the crime. The mystery is how this crime came to be committed and the interesting family history and family dynamics that influenced the narrator (the son of the killer) and his family. The book has been well translated from German. I enjoyed reading this title very much.
This is the story of Randolph, married man and father of two young children living in Berlin. He is an architect and things are going well for him in their ground floor flat in Berlin.
The Berlin he grew up in was a frightening and anxious place. The regime they lived under caused untold fear amongst it's citizens.
Randolph's wife, Rebecca. Feels very uncomfortable about Tiberius who lives in the basement flat. He ansiety grows and things escalate when he accuses the parents of sexually abusing their children. He has gone too far and his life is ended.
The characters Randolph and Rebecca appear to be good hardworking people. His father, rather more frightening. I haven't been to Berlin, but it sounded much as described during his years growing up.
A little long windedm but work 4* all the same.
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are all my own and completely unbiased. My thanks to NetGalley for this opportunity.
I found Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit to be a captivating read. The writing is hugely addictive and I found the lead character, Randolph, engaging. I don’t think I would quite call it a fast paced thriller, although the writing definitely did draw me into the story. Nevertheless, I did find the book a really enjoyable read and I’m sure I’ll be looking out for more from this author in the future.
Randolph and Rebecca live a comfortable lifestyle. They have two children, Paul and Fay, who they adore. Life couldn’t be better for them. But when they move into a new apartment, their neighbour, Dieter Tiberius begins to accuse them of heinous crimes against their children. Randolph and Rebecca are pushed to the brink when lawyers and the police become involved and it is clear to them that Dieter Tiberius isn’t going to go away easily. And this is where Dirk Kurbjuweit asks the reader an important question: you’d die for your family, but would you kill for them?
What I thought this novel did really well at was highlighting how unfair the law can be. It is true that these days the police won’t take action - if someone is threatening you - until someone is dead. I shared Randolph’s exasperation at the lack of effort from the authorities as he tried to expel this threat to his family and I shared his sentiments, we pay taxes into these services but when we need their help, they don’t want to know, until it’s too late.
I’ll certainly be pushing this book into the hands of fellow crime readers so that I can discuss it with them. I love a book which has that effect on you, when after you’ve read it; you can’t wait to talk to someone about it. This would be a perfect book club read. A really enjoyable novel. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advance review copy.
YOU'D DIE FOR YOUR FAMILY.
BUT WOULD YOU KILL FOR THEM?
With a start such as this FEAR has to be a must read.
A tale of a nightmare neighbour, and Dieter Tiberius is on another level.
Randolph's father is in jail convicted of murder. Randolph unhappily married finds a love letter addressed to his wife and as more things happen the whole drama unfolds into something quite terrifying
I loved this book.. We have all had a neighbour who has been a bit of a pain but this is something else.it is absolutely superb and kept me up at night, i so wanted to read it in one sitting.
It is scary, sad and it is beautifully written
Just how a good book should be done
An uncomfortable, claustrophobic story very dark.that will send shivers down your spine and make you think how far you would go to protect family and those you love and care for,was very different to how I expected it to be but was enjoyable if that is the right word..........
This was a book by a new author to me. I’ve enjoyed reading this book, and will look for other books by this author in the future.
A Crime Thriller with a Difference:
I have to admit that this book took me totally by surprise. Both its content, style and prose were not what I expected when I started reading. This is a very contemplative read which isn't indicated by the book's cover comments. Nonetheless it is a thought provoking novel which made for a very interesting read.
Most crime novels follow an expected pattern: basically asking the question who-dun-it? after the perpetration of the crime. This novel does it the other way round. Dirk Kurbjuweit presents us with the conclusion and then explains how events unfolded to arrive at a conviction.
In fact, the novel is not so much about events but rather attitudes. The prose is related in a singularly monotonous tone by Randolph. It is devoid of emotion which goes a long way to explain the novel’s surprise ending. The author conveys post war German attitudes to their divided country and in particular Berlin. A Berlin which was in turn divided by a Wall.
It provides a wonderful insight into the insecurities and tensions bubbling just below the surface of everyday post war German life. This was a nation arising from the ashes after Hitler and the Nazis. We are given a glimpse of how the Nazis managed to rise to power. Through Randolph, the narrator, we see the danger of holding onto rigid views which expect the State, or Establishment, to support middle-class perceptions of the order of society. I felt empathy for the victim, Tiberius, who doesn’t deserve what fate had in store for him. Tiberius’s fate is the result of the prejudices of Randolph and his wife, Rebecca. Are these prejudices that much different from those that were applied to the Jews?
There is an undercurrent of unwarranted righteousness in Randolph’s view of the order of life. Randolph stands in stark contrast to his brother, Bruno, who has a rather different view of life abhorred by his brother but ultimately healthier. If Bruno had been in Randolph’s position the problems would have been sorted out quickly.
The novel poses the reader a question: what would you have done in Randolph’s position? The answer would be almost certainly something totally different.
The author also considers the effect on families of gun ownership. Randolph grew up in a house where his father possessed over thirty guns and yet he is adamant that this had no impact on his way of thinking or behaviour. He became a pacifist who spurns violence in any form even when it would seem logical to deploy to protect his family. As his brother Bruno suggests, nipping a problem in the bud. Certainly, the tragic events which unfolded could have been avoided.
This is a crime novel written to make the reader think. And it has a surprise in store for the reader at the end. A book for readers who want more than a simple who-dun-it. But I was left with a feeling that the twist at the end was rather predictable.
Imagine having a downstairs neighbour who makes you and your family’s life hell. Not so hard to do. Right?
Now imagine that their actions drive you to commit Murder.
Not so easy. Right?
Most of us would consider ourselves to be moral human beings. To know the difference between right and wrong. To know that Murder is a crime that you absolutely cannot (and should not) get away with.
The Fear is a novel that will make you question your own morality as we meet Dietrich Tiberius via Randolph.
Randolph and his family are pleased when their new neighbour moves in below them. He is friendly at first, eager to meet with them and share stories and baked cookies.
But then he begins to act oddly. At first it seems to be nothing, he just seems to be around more than usual, he surely can’t be stalking them can he?
Then come the vile accusations and threats about Randolph and his wife. Their neighbour accusing them of their two very young children.
He is immediately reported and the take legal advice and threaten to sue for slander. But as they begin their fight against him, they realised that although sympathetic to their plight, the law is not necessarily on their side and they may be forced to take matters into their own hands for the family's safety.
This is dubbed The Most Original Thriller of 2018! Original, yes. But, it's a difficult one to rate. It has some of the most mixed reviews I have seen for a novel, and I feel as though either way this is going to be an unpopular-opinion.
When I first heard that Fear was being published, I was eager to read it straight away, after-all, the synopsis sounds absolutely fantastic. However, when I was reading it, I wasn't gripped as I have come to expect from thrillers. It was more of a slow-burning suspense for me, which was a bit disappointing.
Fear is a story of nightmare neighbours, suspense, intrigue and murder. It follows Randolph, who is an unhappy, married, father of two children and Dieter, his nightmare-neighbour next door. The storyline follows how Randolph met Dieter, including his first impressions of Dieter, safe to say they are not good. However, relations between the families actually begin pretty well, but quickly turn sour, leading Randolph down a dangerous and violent road.
Although this book isn't a speedy, page-turning thriller, I feel as though this book covers a whole host of other issues. Depending on your interests, this could turn you completely off of this book, or be a fantastic addition. Issues included: law, marriage, politics, gender etc. I quite liked much of this discussion, although it always did feel slightly off for what is described as a simple thriller. I feel as though these issues discussed were important in making the book discuss real-world issues, and also keep the running theme of the story dark.
It's interesting that Fear is a translated novel, and I wonder if some of its brilliance was lost in the translation, as it could have been so good. I would recommend this story, because I feel as though it's another divisive one, but with the understanding that there are better thrillers out there!
I received this E-Arc in exchange for an honest review and would like to say thank-you to Orion for providing me with an advanced-readers-copy of this book.
Full Review: https://thereadingruby.blogspot.com/2018/01/book-review-fear-by-dirk-kurbjuweit.html
I’m not sure quite what I was expecting from Dirk Kurbjuweit’s book, but it certainly wasn’t what I got. If I’m honest, I suppose what I expected was a hyped up thriller full of dark menace in which men, women and children cowered in a corner in fear of their lives from a frighteningly menacing monster.
Fear is not that book. It is altogether more subtle and nuanced and by far the better for it. It is fictional, but based on a stalking experience that the writer has himself lived through.
This book is set in Germany, but I know from my own (one step removed) experience how worrying stalking is and what a traumatic impact stalkers can have on the day to day lives of their victims. It is difficult for the law in the UK to stop such events when no violence per se is attached. The stalking laws have done much to try and change that, but it hasn’t and will not, stop those who are mentally unwell from pursuing their course of action.
Randolph Tiefenthaler, the protagonist of Fear, grew up with a father who spent all his money on guns. His father would take him to the shooting range every weekend, but Randolph didn’t enjoy it. In truth, he was afraid of guns and concerned that his father kept them in the house, loaded.
It wasn’t that his father was not a good father; he was, although he could be very taciturn and distant. But Randolph could not help but harbour a fear that one day those guns might cause real harm to him or his family.
Now Randolph is married with two young children of his own. He is married to Rebecca, a lovely, bright woman who had a fascinating career of her own working on the human genome project, but gave it up to care for her children.
He is an architect, building up a one man practice and he and his family have moved into a new ground floor apartment in Berlin. Dieter Tiberius is living in and renting the basement apartment. Dieter is a strange character who turns into a threatening one when he accuses the parents of sexually abusing their children.
Fear deals with the family’s experience and looks closely at the impact on everyone involved. Though we know from the beginning of the book what the outcome is, and how it was arrived at, we see the devastating impact that the stalker brings to friends, family and even the children.
All this is examined in quiet, thoughtful detail, bringing a truthfulness and honesty to the book that both surprises and makes it far more than a standard thriller.
Written as a first person narrative, Randolph is our protagonist and we come to know him well during the book. In truth, he has more in common with his father than perhaps he will admit.
The questions raised by Fear are serious and very worthy of debate. Can violence ever be justified? When a person’s mental health is involved should the law be ignored? Dirk Kurbjuweit’s book would be a great one for book clubs.
Overall, a very thoughtful examination of one man’s helplessness as the rule of law that he has signed up to lets him down time and again. How he reacts to his situation will define who he is.
Fear asks questions about society, privilege and nature versus nurture. Thus the ending is far more shocking than you expect.
An immersive, gripping read that will keep me thinking for months to come.
Readers who liked this book also liked:
Shari Low; Ross King
Nicholas Sansbury Smith