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Woman of the Dead: A Novel by Bernhard…
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Woman of the Dead: A Novel (2014)

by Bernhard Aichner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Die Totenfrau Trilogie (1)

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English (8)  Italian (1)  All (9)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Oy. Well, what can I say. Every so often I come across a book that just doesn't do it for me at all. Here we have a revenge thriller with psychopath mortician/loving mommy in the leading role, and I just flat out didn't care for it.

First of all, I figured out the BIG reveal so early into the story that it was just a matter of waiting for the end to prove myself right. tick tick tick yawn. Not that that hasn't happened with me and crime novels more than a few times, but so early into the game just really wrecks things beyond repair, and nothing after that point made me even question my guess.

Second, this novel is so over-the-top violent that it was not at all a pleasure to read.

Third, and what really gets me, is that everything happens and falls into place so unrealistically easily in this novel that there was no challenge whatsoever in the reading. I mean, if you're going to write a "thriller," it should pretty much thrill, and this one just didn't.

Oh well. Enough people here have enjoyed it and rated it highly, so it's probably once again just me being uber-picky. ( )
1 vote bcquinnsmom | Aug 4, 2016 |
You never want to get on the wrong side of this woman! Blum is happily married with 2 young children. Her husband, Mark is a Policeman and she is a successful undertaker. Then, her world falls apart after her husband is killed in a hit and run. When she finds out that it wasn't an accident but murder, all hell breaks out. This is the first book in a trilogy, not sure what else she can that she didn't already do in this book. Not for the faint at heart! ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Oct 8, 2015 |
A dark and disturbing tale of vengeance and violence, Woman of the Dead is the first novel by Bernhard Aichner to feature Blum, mother, mortician and murderer.

When Blum's beloved husband is killed in a hit and run she is nearly destroyed until she learns that he was deliberately targeted. The photographer, the cook, the priest, the huntsman, and the clown - these are the men responsible, and Blum is going to make them pay.

Woman Of the Dead has one of the most memorable character introductions I've ever read. The story opens with a during a defining moment in Blum's life before leaping forward eight years to place us in the present. Blum is the devoted wife of Mark, a police detective, the doting mother of their two young daughters, and the owner of a successful funeral business. She is both hero and anti-hero in this story, grieving widow and ruthless killer.

There is raw and visceral emotion in The Woman of the Dead. The pain and numbness of Blum's grief and the horror of the abuse Danya experienced at the hands of the mysterious cabal. There is also grisly and often explicit violence, this isn't a story for the squeamish.

The plot is quite straight forward, perhaps stretched a little thin at times. It's a fast paced story that builds suspense, though astute readers shouldn't have any problems guessing the identity of the last man standing.

Woman of the Dead is an unusual story, with a rather extraordinary protagonist. I'm curious to see how the series develops. ( )
  shelleyraec | Aug 26, 2015 |
This book, the first of a trilogy, has been a #1 bestseller in Austria so I requested an ARC of its English translation to be released on August 25. I cannot understand why it was a bestseller.

Brünhilde Blum, the anti-heroine of the novel, is a mortician. After the death of her adoptive parents, Blum is happy until her husband Mark, a police detective, is killed in a hit-and-run accident. When she discovers that he was in fact murdered, she sets out to avenge his death. To do so, she must track down five men who are responsible for that crime and other heinous acts as well (abduction, unlawful imprisonment, assault, rape, and murder).

It is the character of Blum that will immediately catch the reader’s interest. She chooses to be called Blum, “Just Blum, because she hated her first name, she’d never been able to bear it. . . . A name that had nothing to do with her . . . A name that she had banished from her life. Only Blum now. No Brünhilde.” And it is not just her name that she banishes; like a cross between Dexter and Lisbeth Salander, she has no difficulty removing people from her life. She is a damaged individual brimming with hate and a desire for revenge.

The book has a strong opening, but its initial promise is not kept. The plot becomes very improbable. Blum must find five men known only as the photographer, the priest, the cook, the huntsman and the clown, yet she manages to track them all down with minimal difficulty. Everything just falls into place. She is repeatedly able to break into homes and kill and dismember people without being caught; it’s almost as if she commits the perfect crime over and over because any problems are easily removed. And she is able to do all this even when she takes unbelievable risks such as watching to see who will find a decapitated head she has left in a very public place. She is successful even though abductions are not planned very carefully. For example, only once a man has been abducted does she begin “looking for the perfect house, a house with a drive they can disappear down in broad daylight.”

Some of the events make very little sense. One minute a co-operative witness says he doesn’t recognize the name Dunya : “’Don’t know her. There were so many of them, the whole staff hostel was full of foreigners. . . . I never paid attention to the names.’” Then later he says that a particular man “’was often at the hotel when Dunya worked there’”? A man described as the “village pastor” lives at the presbytery of the cathedral in Innsbruck? He is abducted near his home but then his car, not used in the abduction, is found near the Italian border? Someone intent on blackmail wouldn’t have extra copies of photos, especially in the age of digital photography? Would a photographer bother printing photos when they can be kept on a computer? One minute, Blum pleads with a man, with whom she has already had sex, “’I just want to see you,’” but then when they meet, she pushes him away, telling him “he must understand that she is thinking only of Mark.’” She doesn’t expect this man to suspect her motives but she later worries that he is going to be suspicious of someone else whom he has no reason to suspect? Would the smell of urine escape from a casket? After gagging and tying up an unconscious person and wrapping blankets around him before placing him in a coffin, is it logical to put “tape around the casket to make sure there is no chance of escape”? One minute, Blum learns about an actor’s whereabouts from “media reports” but then blames his “production company” for that information?

The writing style is weak. Sometimes there are lengthy conversations between two people, conversations not interrupted with identifiers, so the reader has to keep track of who is saying what. At other times, there is needless repetition. For instance, at the end of one conversation, Blum observes that the man with whom she had spoken is not guilty: “He didn’t know what she was talking about . . . He was surprised. He racked his brain and found nothing, his astonishment was genuine.” Later, after a second conversation, she thinks, “Briefly, she believed in his guilt. But now she realizes that he had nothing to do with it. . . . His face had given that away. In the restaurant and now here, his astonishment had been genuine, as had the confusion in his eyes.” And I have rarely read about such expressive eyes and hands. There are statements like, “She says these things without words, only with the touch of her fingertips” and “Blum knows that she has made a mistake, she was thinking only of herself; she knows she will hurt him if she tells him to go away. She knows that, and his fingers can feel it” and “That’s what his raised hands say and his eyes” and “his eyes said no” and “Only his eyes say she reacted too slowly.”

I read the following statement about the author: “Writing with breakneck narration and rapid-fire dialogue, Bernhard Aichner is poised to follow in the steps of Jo Nesbo, Camilla Läckberg, and Jussi Adler-Olsen to become Europe’s new breakout star in crime fiction.” Having read and enjoyed Nesbø, Läckberg, and Adler-Olsen, I will be genuinely surprised if this prediction comes to pass. Was something lost in translation?

Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

Please check out my reader's blog: http://schatjesshelves.blogspot.ca/ ( )
  Schatje | Aug 25, 2015 |
A special thank you to Scribner and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

WOMAN OF THE DEAD by Berhnard Aichner is one edgy, wacky, evil, tense, wicked, suspenseful, and thoroughly creepy mystery crime psycho-thriller. "Female Vigilante Justice, at its finest!"

Meet Brünhilde Blum, a 24-year-old undertaker in Innsbruck. A beautiful mortician married to the love of her life, a cop, Mark. They met on boat out at sea, while her creepy adopted parents drowned. With a dark past, she never thought she could be so happy, with two beautiful girls and a loving husband. Mark’s elderly dad, a former cop, moves in with them, and completes their happy home at the Villa.

Blum’s idyllic life is destroyed when her husband is run down and murdered by a hit-and-run driver in front of their house. Being a cop, Mark is always involved in danger, and loves the thrill of his fast motorcycle. Blum is devastated, and everything she loves has been taken away. How can she go on? She vows she will find his killer, even though the cops do not have any leads---She will find the killer and the man who ran her husband down. She wants justice. She has to remain strong for her children.

After his death she comes across some conversations on his phone; a ring of sadistic evil, slavery, torture, abuse; immigrants, a woman, victims--and her husband Mark was trying to help, gathering information and got too close. There are five powerful men and she will track them down and kill them one by one. She will do it for her children, her husband, and the victims.

Fearless, Blum will use her business, (she is unafraid of the dead), her loyal employee (Reza, with a past), and all her resources as a mortician to take out this ring of evil and abuse. With a ready coffin and a hearse at her fingertips, she is a scary power house! Driven by a dark past, and a powerful need for retaliation, love, and grief –however, who can she trust? How far will she go?

A labyrinth of creepy twists and grotesque turns--assured to offer readers graphic nightmares and sleepless nights; an undertaker, a hearse, crematorium, coffins, bloody corpses, dismemberment, saws, body parts; masked men--a clown, a priest, a cook, a photographer, and an strong obsession for REVENGE. This taunt, heart-pounding fast-paced page-turner thriller, will leave you breathless—anxiously awaiting the next installment with this terrifying new trilogy.

Engrossing and explicit, --- one of those books you cannot put down, as you peak around the corner; not for the faint-hearted! In the theme of Jennifer Hillier (The Butcher), Paul Cleave, Karin Slaughter, Mark Edwards, Lisa Gardner, Lisa Unger, Gillian Flynn, and Stephen King --sexy hot Austrian Aichner will wow you with danger and violence, with his intriguing female protagonist who will stop at nothing for retaliation. Can’t wait to see what comes next!

For those who enjoy vigilante movies such as Gran Torino, Dexter, Death Wish, The Equalizer, Falling Down, and Death Sentence, will devour.

WOMAN OF THE DEAD is the first book of a crime trilogy by award-winning Austrian author Bernhard Aichner, as well as his first novel to be translated into English. Welcome to the US!

"Woman of the Dead is both a thriller and a love story. Blum, like Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter, is a serial killer, a character who does terrible things, but the novel wouldn’t work if you didn’t sympathize with her and feel her pain."

Enjoyed reading the inspiration behind the book from the author: Yes, indeed it works. Read More http://upcoming4.me/news/book-news/the-story-behind-woman-of-the-dead-by-bernhar... ( )
  JudithDCollins | Aug 9, 2015 |
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Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blicht der Abrund auch in dich hinein. - Friedrich Nietsche
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Man sieht alles von oben.
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A grieving widow and professional mortician discovers there was more to the hit-and-run accident that took her husband's life than she originally thought, and vows to find out and get revenge on those responsible.

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