The Soul Breaker by Sebastian Fitzek tr. John Brownjohn #bookreview #TheSoulBreaker #NetGalley

The Soul Breaker doesn’t kill his victims. What he does is much worse.
He leaves them paralysed and completely catatonic. His only trace: a note left in their hands.
There are three known victims when suddenly the abductions stop. The Soul Breaker has tired of his game, it seems.
Meanwhile, a man has been found in the snow outside an exclusive psychiatric clinic. He has no recollection of who he is, or why he is there.
Soon the weather goes from bad to worse, and the clinic becomes completely cut off from the world outside.
When the head psychiatrist is found trembling, naked and distraught, with a slip of paper in her hands, it seems the Soul Breaker has returned. And with the clinic cut off from the world, no one is able to get in – or out.


Hi and welcome to my review of The Soul Breaker!

Sebastian Fitzek is a new-to-me author who was on my radar with another book of his that came out this summer: Seat 7a, one of this summer’s plane thrillers. After reading The Soul Breaker, I was eager to read more Fitzek and as we speak I’m reading Passenger 23 (set on a cruise ship instead of a plane, perfect!).

The Soul Breaker intrigued me from the get-go but initially I did find it a tad bizarre. The story opens with patient’s records, but the weirdest, least medical patient’s records ever, more thriller or horror novel than medical records. The opening scene is gruesome, leaving no doubt that the person nicknamed “the Soul Breaker” is a highly disturbed maniac, it is NOT for the faint of heart, let me tell you!

For the other string of this dual storyline, we join a professor and his students, who apparently have just read our opening scene as well, those shocking patient’s records, and appear just as appalled – and confused – by the lack of medical professionalism as I was. The students are invited to join an experiment, which will consist of reading the rest of the records.

And so the experiment kicks off, with the students – and the reader – continuing to read the records, by means of which we are transported to a psychiatric institution, where one of the patients suffers from retrograde amnesia and one of the doctors seems to have been attacked by the Soul Breaker. The clinic goes in lockdown but what if the madman is on the wrong side of the shutters?

I have to admit I felt like one of the students, part of the experiment. When the professor tells his students they can’t terminate the experiment unilaterally, that for it to succeed they must concentrate and read without taking long breaks, I felt like he was addressing me. Not gonna lie, it was a little bit creepy and quite Inception-esque but I decided to embrace the weirdness and roll with it.

Who was the Soul Breaker, who was the professor, what happened in the clinic and what’s up with that experiment? Sebastian Fitzek made me wait for answers until the end and in the meantime, I was spouting all sorts of theories. Yup, me, myself and I had a great time puzzling this one out 😅 And in the end, some of my theories had actually come to fruition, imagine that!

Overall, I had a great time with The Soul Breaker. It is such an original take on the serial killer novel and the locked room trope, and all the initial weirdness makes perfect sense in the end. If you’re looking for an entertaining, one-of-a-kind psychothriller that keeps you on your toes, The Soul Breaker should be at the top of your list!

A word to the wise: be sure to read the acknowledgements, and to read them last. They’re brilliant. And reassuring… Read the book, read the acknowledgements, you’ll know what I mean.

The Soul Breaker is out now in digital formats (only 99p on Amazon UK at the moment, here’s your chance to give it a whirl!), hardcover and audio, with the paperback to follow in November.

Massive thanks to Head of Zeus and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.

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