“But I got no reason to talk. Everybody’s got their own quirks and secrets. The smaller the town, the harder it is to keep things private. You’d think it’d be easier, but it ain’t.”
— Erik Therme, Mortom
We’ve all dreamed of receiving an outrageous amount of money deposited into our accounts or an empire being dropped on you, leaving you the sole beneficiary. Wouldn’t that put a smile on absolutely anyone? Well Craig Moore, who has recently committed suicide, leaves behind “an empty bank account and a run-down house” for Andy Crowl, his cousin. Not exactly the greatest parting gift, but things get quite fishy when your dear cousin wasn’t exactly… close to you. Upon arriving in the small town where Craig lived, Mortom, Andy and his sister are catapulted into a suspicious and thrilling adventure. The discovery of a clue that might untangle the very mysteries that embellish the house brings relationships to the very brink of extinction, minds on the verge of eruption and chaos in the immediate proximity. Seeking answers to questions, Andy and his sister Kate explore well-kept secrets and Craig’s history until this very dead man’s game delivers the unexpected.
“Let sleeping dogs lie.”
— Erik Therme, Mortom
It’s been a while since I’ve delved into a quick and thrilling novel. The pace was perfect and every chapter was a teaser. Erik Therme successfully immersed me into the novel and kept it even more alive with an engaging addition of puzzles to solve. A lot of psychological thrillers based on puzzles prefer to incorporate puzzles that are nearly impossible for readers to solve, even a little. However, Mortom does an amazing job in making the puzzles fun and interesting. This debut novel keeps everything in motion and never seems to go off track. To make this adventure even more worthwhile, one could simply look at the writing. If I were to pronounce myself on the presence or absence of a talent with words, my decision would be immediate and positive. The writing is perfect for this novel. There’s no doubt that the writing managed to complement the story that was being told. Being straight to the point, precise and adaptive to each character was brilliantly done. The general structure of this novel can unquestionably praised.
The setting and world in Mortom is quite simple, but very effective. Having such a small universe with near none irrelevant characters helped enormously in making everyone a potential character with key information. This helped make this adventure very entertaining, and sometimes a little too predictable. Having such a small cast of characters also helped give more opportunity to delve into relationships and character thoughts. If anything Andy’s evolution was predictable, easy to see unfold and well executed. On the other hand, his sister’s behavior had its ups and downs. Sometimes repetitive and constantly vomiting the same “stop-what-you’re-doing” and “there’s-nothing-there”, she could easily get on the nerves of some readers. She however still brings an interesting side to the story by gaining clues and plot elements that could later be helpful. Nonetheless, every character had their own flaws and personalities. This helped in making this a thrilling adventure and quick adventure.
“No, there war more to it than that—much more. He knew it without question.”
— Erik Therme, Mortom
Erik Therme’s debut novel is a implacable reason to pursue a career of storytelling. Fun, thrilling and filled with puzzles, Andy Crowl’s hunt for answers and potential wealth is an immersive and delightful story. Easy to read, interesting till the end, there’s no reason to drop this book and stray away from it. The ending didn’t hit me as hard as I wish it had though. It felt like jumping off a cliff and falling into an ocean, unharmed and in doubt of the purpose of such a jump. In fact, you might have been expecting something quite opposite of a safe landing because of an ocean; more like a rocky ground and a lot of red. Mortom is still a rapid page-turner filled with secrecy and obsession. It’s not without reason for a person to think that a puzzle is left behind in the will of a dead cousin and believe that an elaborated plan such as this would lead to a pot of gold in the end. Growing on these fantasies and searching for clues will push a person to their limits and Erik Therme does an excellent job in exploring the various facets of such “compulsive” behaviors.
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