The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr. (1999 in German, 2007 in English).
*2 out of 5 stars*
I was pretty disappointed in this novel but I did think that I had too high expectations as I loved the Netflix series. I wonder if I read the book first perhaps I would have enjoyed it more…
The Sinner tells the story of Cora Bender, a young woman who murders a man out of the blue in public and while taking full responsibility for it does not appear to have a real motive or understanding of why she did it. A police commissioner delves into the mystery of Cora’s life to find out why the murder happened.
I found the book disjointed and confusing most of the time. I don’t think that is purely because it was a translated novel (although there is definitely some phrases that clearly have not translated well and don’t make much sense). I think it was supposed to be part of the plot however it ended up being off-putting as the story jumped around a lot from the present to the past, but then Cora was confused about the past or lying at times so it would jump and change again a few pages later. The twist is a good one, but it gets lost a bit and I found the end to be a bit flat in the novel.
I don’t often say this but for me the media adaptation was significantly better than the novel (acknowledging there was quite a few differences between the show and the book).