Splinter by Sebastian Fitzek

8/10 An imaginative and compelling thriller that will keep you hooked until the very end.

Sebastian Fitzek is a bestselling author in his native Germany where, in 2006, his first book Therapy toppled Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code from its number one position.

In Splinter - his latest work to be translated into English – Fitzek has written one of those thrillers that draws you in while twisting the story over and over so that you can never see where it is going. It keeps you guessing until the very end.

Marc Lucas is only slowly putting his life back together after the car crash that killed his pregnant wife when things start to go strangely wrong for him. His credit cards stop working. His key no longer fits his door. He discovers someone else working in his office and one day he comes home to find himself face to face with his once-dead wife, and she doesn't have a clue who he is. Could this have anything to do with the clinic? They wanted to test their ability to remove traumatic memories from live subjects. Marc had met them, just once, but declined their experimental technology. He now fears they may have begun their tests illicitly...

The main premise of the book is, if you suffered a traumatic event would you choose to erase that memory? This makes it sound similar in scope to the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or even one of Philip K Dick’s paranoia drenched novels, but it is a very different book in terms of content, focusing more on family, love and lies.

Even though Splinter has been translated from Germany – where sometimes many things can be lost in translation - it did not in any way distract from the story. I have recently been to Berlin and recognised a lot of the places that the characters move around in. Fitzek uses Berlin to give an atmospheric background to the city and the story is all the more realistic for it.

Splinter is an imaginative and compelling thriller that will keep you hooked until the very end. Recommended.


Sebastian Fitzek has worked as a journalist and author for radio and TV stations all around Europe, and is now head of programming at RTL, Berlin's leading radio station.

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Splinter reader reviews

from Catalonia

Its an intelligent and very hard working plot I have to say, even if not too original: we have the impression, we have seen that before on the screen. The repeated twists are fatiguing, the very conclusion kind of plain. I just finished because I wanted to know how it ends, but it's not enough to rate it better, sorry.

from Ireland

This is definely one of the strangest novels l have read. At first it is hard to figure out what the hell is going on, but the longer it goes on you wonder what's real or is it all in the charchers' imagination. But it is worth reading to the end. You won't forget it for a while, enjoy.

7.1/10 from 3 reviews

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