You are her therapist.
Kristina is a successful therapist in central Oslo. She spends her days helping clients navigate their lives with a cool professionalism that has got her to the top.
She is your client.
But when her client Leah, a successful novelist, arrives at her office clearly distressed, begging Kristina to come to her remote cabin in the woods, she feels the balance begin to slip.
But out here in the woods.
When Leah fails to turn up to her next two sessions, Kristina reluctantly heads out into the wilderness to find her.
Nothing is as it seems.
Alone and isolated, Kristina finds Leah’s unfinished manuscript, and as she reads she realises the main character is terrifyingly familiar…
Hi and welcome to my review of Cabin Fever!
I can never resist a Nordic Noir, so when I spotted Cabin Fever on NetGalley, I almost tripped over my own feet in my haste to request it. A cabin in the Norwegian woods, a therapist, a client who knows too much? That just had my name written all over it!
The narrative in Cabin Fever alternates between Kristina, the therapist, Leah, the client, and Elisabeth, Kristina’s best friend. From the onset it’s clear that Kristina is not exactly the kind of therapist who has her own life sorted. Married to a politician on the cusp of the elections, her marriage has been on hold for longer than she cares to consider, she’s dreaming of a baby but despite several IVF treatments she’s still not pregnant, and she still hasn’t quite recovered from some personal trauma. Outwardly she may seem like she has all her ducks in one row, but actually, she’s a bit of a mess, and one with secrets to boot.
Leah is a bit of an enigma. Obviously she has issues, one does not consult a therapist without having issues to work out I’m sure, but I couldn’t quite get a firm sense of her and I constantly felt like there was a lot more hiding beneath the surface.
I would definitely describe Cabin Fever as a slow-burner. Alex Dahl takes her time setting the board and all the pieces before she starts playing the game properly. That approach might not work for everybody, I have to admit I love a high-octane thriller as much as the next gal, but I also love books where the author takes the action down a notch or two. It leaves more room for the reader to wonder, to become a little wary, to enjoy the atmosphere. And if there’s anything Cabin Fever has in spades it’s atmosphere! It’s the kind of book that stresses the psychology of the psychological thriller, much like The Therapist. And be sure that once the action kicks off, it doesn’t let up! I did have a few things figured out before they were revealed, but that didn’t diminish my reading enjoyment.
I do have to say I did miss a little pizzazz, something to lift it up above other books in this genre, something that would allow it to make its mark, because although Cabin Fever was an enjoyable read for me, I don’t think it will be one that will stick with me in the long run. Then again, not every book can. So if you’re looking for a thriller in a Scandinavian setting, don’t let me hold you back, be sure to check out Cabin Fever.
Thanks to Head of Zeus and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are still my own.
Cabin Fever is out now in all digital formats, hardcover and audio. It will be out in paperback next year.