Title: Sandrine’s Case by Thomas H. Cook
Imprint: Mysterious Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Thomas H. Cook offers one of his most compelling novels ever in Sandrine’s Case, in which a college professor falls in love with his wife all over again…while on trial for her murder.
Samuel Madison always wondered what Sandrine saw in him. He was a meek, stuffy doctorate student, and she a brilliant, beautiful, bohemian with limitless talents and imagination. On the surface their relationship and marriage seemed perfectly tranquil: jobs at the same small, liberal arts college, a precocious young daughter, a home filled with art and literature, and trips to some of the world’s most beautiful cities and towns. And then one night Sandrine is found dead in their bed and Samuel is accused of her murder.
As the truth about their often tumultuous relationship comes to light, Samuel must face a town and media convinced of his guilt, a daughter whose faith in her father has been shaken to its core, and astonishing revelations about his wife that make him fall in love with her for a second time. A searing novel about love lost and rediscovered, from one of our greatest chroniclers of the human heart.
Thomas H. Cook’s latest mystery is a fascinating psychological drama and intriguing character study. When Sandrine’s Case begins, Professor Sam Madison is on trial for the murder of his wife Sandrine. While Sam alleges that Sandrine committed suicide, the police and prosecutor are convinced Sam murdered Sandrine. As the trial unfolds, Sam’s ruminations provide an in depth look into his longtime marriage and he reaches startling and unexpected conclusions about his wife, their marriage and ultimately, himself.
Narrated in first person by Sam, Sandrine’s Case is a little slow moving at first, but it was not long before I was thoroughly engrossed in the story. As the trial progresses, Sam’s reflections have ominous overtones that are ambiguous and lend credence to the police’s theory that he murdered Sandrine. This part of the storyline brilliantly demonstrates how seemingly innocent remarks, reactions and events can be interpreted as indicators of guilt and wrongdoing.
Sam and Sandrine’s relationship is revealed through flashbacks that illustrate the slow erosion of their marriage. The deeper Sam delves into his memories, the more self-aware he becomes and he begins to have a deeper understanding of Sandrine. He is unflinchingly honest as he readily accepts his culpability in the breakdown of their marriage.
More than a mystery, Sandrine’s Case is an incredible journey of self-discovery. The truths Sam uncovers about himself and Sandrine are shocking and incredibly poignant. Thomas H. Cook masterfully builds suspense about Sam’s guilt or innocence and he delivers a highly satisfying and emotional ending to this powerful story about love and redemption.