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Back to the Coast Paperback – June 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Maria Vos, the narrator of Noort's taut psychological suspense novel, is a bit of a mess. The mother of two children from two different lovers, she decides to terminate her latest pregnancy without telling the father, with whom she performs in a local Amsterdam band. Following the procedure, Vos begins to receive hate mail, complete with graphic images of aborted fetuses. After an undertaker appears at her door to claim her corpse, she takes the kids to stay with her sister on the Dutch coast. While Vos is away, someone burns down her house, destroying the letters that are the only independent evidence of her nemesis. The police, aware of Vos's family history of mental instability, suspect she set the fire herself and imagined the threats. Noort (The Dinner Club) does a splendid job of leaving the reader unsure whether or not to trust Vos's account. Those who appreciate intelligent writing and emotionally plausible characters will be rewarded. (June)
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From Booklist

Soul singer Maria chooses to abort an unplanned pregnancy rather than bring a third child into her already chaotic life. This single action ends up destroying everything in her life as an unknown and increasingly malevolent stalker harasses her for choosing an abortion. Fleeing her life and former boyfriend in Amsterdam, Maria returns to her family home on the desolate seaside to stay with her social-worker older sister, abandoning everything except her children in a desperate bid to escape. In this fast-paced and exciting thriller, Maria’s fear and terror are conveyed to the reader through short chapters detailing her increasingly desperate moves. Is Maria sane, or is she having psychotic delusions like her mother? Is she safe anywhere? A best-seller across Europe, Back to the Coast is a perfect vacation novel for those who’d rather read about someone being chased down a beach than go to the beach themselves. Suggest to fans of international crime fiction who liked Petra Hammesfahr’s The Sinner (2008) or Gianluca Morozzi’s Blackout (2009) for their atmospheric contemporary European settings and possibly unreliable narrators. --Jessica Moyer

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press; Tra edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904738370
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904738374
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,501,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Ted Feit VINE VOICE on August 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Maria Vos is not an overly sympathetic character. She appears to be a self-centered, single mother of two (from two different fathers), bent on self-satisfying experiences. She is a singer, living in Amsterdam, and has just kicked out her latest live-in lover after having an abortion of his child without telling him.

She then begins to receive threats from what appears to be an anti-abortion activist and the police inform her that they can do nothing until some harmful act takes place. She becomes more and more frightened and takes the kids and flees to her sister's home, the scene of their childhood during which her mother suffered from mental disease and attempted to kill her father. Maria begins to fear for her own sanity as well as her life. Her home in Amsterdam burns down the night she arrives at her sister's, and the police believe she's at fault.

The novel is a suspenseful mystery, with all appearances indicating that Maria may be the culprit. Clues are few and far between, while Maria points the police toward her ex-lover and her missing brother-in-law, who is said to have walked out on the sister two weeks before Maria's arrival. The reader really isn't informed of any developments until the final denouement. Written with a sharp pen, it is an interesting and unusual tale, but seems a bit mechanical in the telling.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Single mom Maria struggles to make enough money to take care of her children while trying to make it as a singer. Her boyfriend is not helping her as his depression only adds to her stress especially since she is pregnant with his kid. Reluctantly Maria chooses abortion as she cannot afford another mouth to feed.

Not long afterward, she is kicked out of her house and begins receiving anonymous ugly letters accusing her of being a whore and a baby killer. The police offer no help. Accompanied by her children she flees back to coast to the family home where her sister and brother-in-law were residing only he left his wife; a place with memories of her mom's insanity and he dad's aloofness. To her chagrin, her stalker follows and is not easing up on a campaign of terror.

Mindful of the Fontaine role in Hitchcock's Suspicion, fans will enjoy this deep family drama that focuses on "loving" ties that smother and destroy. The story line starts off a bit slow as Saskia Noort introduces the reader to Maria and her feelings of being trapped and overwhelmed by her responsibilities. The tone dramatically changes after the abortion as does the beleaguered heroine who has regrets and guilt but soon fights for her sanity as much as her physical safety. Fans will enjoy this suspenseful dark look at choking relationships that never allow one to breathe.

Harriet Klausner
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