ISBN-13: 978-0099488460
Publisher: Definitions (July 2007)
Paperback: 304 pages
Translated by Anthea Bell

I suppose the printed blood stains on the book cover speaks for everything. The Strawberry Picker is an intense suspense thriller which I devoured from cover to cover. I found this book at the Young Adults/Children section; at the bottom right of the backcover it stated that this book is unsuitable for younger readers which I agree since this is a book about murder after all.

Eighteen-year-old Jenna has two good friends, Caro and Merle. They share a flat together and treat one another like sisters. When they heard of the murder cases whereby the victims were brutally stabbed, had had their hair cut off and their necklaces missing, all of them were terrified. The public even named him as the necklace murderer. Detective Bert Melzig has a hard time finding the clues and cracking the cases as the killer leaves no traces behind, although he thinks the killer is a fetishist as well who keeps the victims' necklaces as mementos.

Jenna is uncertain about Caro's new relationship when the latter told her she has a new boyfriend who no one has met. She is more horrified when Caro later told her she doesn't know his name either, however Caro feels otherwise as she thinks it is a game and that it is romantic in a way to make wild guesses of his name and earned his love further if she has guessed it correctly in the end. On top of this, he barely touches her too. Caro thinks he is sweet and their relationship is so special.

Then Caro went missing for two days. When Jenna and Merle see her again, it is at the morgue and the police wants them to identify her body. Both girls are shocked, for they never expect this would happen to their good friend. This makes Caro the fourth victim of the murder case. After this, Detective Melzig is more determined to get the killer arrested, while on the other hand at Caro's funeral Jenna vows she will seek revenge and find the murderer. The news reached Nathaniel's ears, who happens to be Caro's mysterious boyfriend and a quiet strawberry picker. He finds Jenna fascinating, but what most attracts him is she is Caro's friend and in his sick mind he thinks he has not lost Caro in a way.

And when Jenna later meets Nathaniel by chance, she is immediately attracted to his shy and reserved way. She feels they have something in common, and from there he shares a little of his unhappy childhood memories with her. Jenna soon finds herself falling in love, but Nathaniel thinks she is behaving no different from the other girls he befriended and he decided to end it all with a heavy sick heart.

German author Monika Feth has written an intense page-turner in The Strawberry Picker; there are times that I forgot this is a young adults fiction. Although there isn't much suspense to the killer's identity, but I think the author has done a good job in creating the thrill especially towards the second half of the book where I find myself holding my breath and worrying for Jenna's safety. There are also times I feel like shaking her because with the killer still at large, she should at least be wary of the people around her and not letting down her guard easily. This reminds me of a cliché saying that looks can be deceiving after all. Then again, it might be hard for her to do so when she thinks she has met someone she is in love with.

There is one thing that leaves me unsatisfied with the book is the ending, which I think it is rushed and not much details are being described. Overall I still think The Strawberry Picker is a good suspense read which I enjoyed thoroughly. I hope I am able to find more of Monika Feth's books in future.
16 Responses
  1. Alice Says:

    I like the cover! Great review as usual, Melody. :)

  2. Melody Says:

    Thanks, Alice. :) I love the cover too... if not of the blood stains I'd have thought it looks yummy. ;)

  3. Debi Says:

    This does sound good, Melody! Though I have to agree, it doesn't sound like YA. I let my daughter read most young adult fiction, but definitely would not let her read this one yet.

  4. Cmate Says:

    Sounds interesting... i hope i can find it at the local stores... and have money for it. Been kinda broke this month... :(

  5. Ana S. Says:

    It is a bit odd that this was in the children's section... I guess it could be directed at 16+ YAs, but when I think of "YA" I tend to think of a younger readership. Anyway, it really sounds like a page-turner. It's too bad the ending was a bit rushed.

  6. Iliana Says:

    That is interesting that you found it in the YA section but yet it says it's not for YA? Maybe because the main characters are teens they shelved that in the children's section.
    Anyway, I do love a good thriller and haven't heard of this author before so I'm putting it on my list.

  7. Melody Says:

    Debi - I admit I was a little taken aback when I first found it at the YA/Children section, but after reading it I was relieved that there isn't any gross scenes in the book so it isn't that bad... And I definitely agree with you about screening books for our children to read for I do not want my daughter to read something that is too 'grown-up' for her.

    Cmate - I hope you'll be able to find it at your local bookstore. Otherwise, I hope you'll find it at the library so that you won't have to worry about spending too much... :)

    Nymeth - I think so too... Although the ending isn't as great as I think it'd be, but overall I still enjoyed it. :)

    Iliana - I know, it sounds very contradicting eh? :P Like you stated, it might be because the characters are teens so they're classified under that section, oh well...

  8. Anonymous Says:

    The title attracted me. Your review makes me want to read this book.

  9. Melody Says:

    Naida - Thank you. :)

    Gautami - I hope you'll pick this up if you've the chance... do let me know what you think after you've read it.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    This sounds pretty interesting. I'll have to check it out for my YA blog Teen Troves!

  11. Melody Says:

    Hi Mollie! Thanks for visiting. I hope you'll enjoy the book. And thanks for the link. :)

  12. Anonymous Says:

    we're two girls from germany and we had an english book presentation last month. fortunately we found this site.

    we got an A.

    many thanks to you.

  13. Melody Says:

    Anonymous - Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm glad to hear your presentation had an A. Congratulations! I hope you'll drop by more often. Thanks again! :)

  14. Anonymous Says:


    yes, the rushed ending is kind of a letdown in this thriller, although in the following book we finally hear how Jette (or Jenny in the English version) is coping with what happened.
    Here in Germany the fourth book will be published in april 2009. I've yet to read the third one, but the second was as brilliant as the first.

    Hope you get to read the other's in English too.

  15. Melody Says:

    Kathrin - Hi, thanks for visiting! :)

    I didn't know there'll be a sequel so I'll definitely look out for it. Thanks for telling me. :)

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