Sandrine’s Caseby Thomas H. Cook
“Cook has shown himself to be a writer of poetic gifts, constantly pushing against the presumed limits of crime fiction.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
Thomas H. Cook is peerless when it comes to finding the humanity behind crime. In Sandrine’s Case he has written one of his greatest novels yet, a literary mystery about a man who unspools the story of his fractured relationship with his wife, as he stands trial for her murder.
Samuel Madison always wondered why Sandrine chose him. He was a meek, stuffy doctorate student, and she a brilliant bohemian with limitless talent and imagination. On the surface, their relationship and marriage seemed tranquil: jobs at the same liberal arts college, a precocious young daughter, and a home filled with art and literature. And then one night Sandrine is found dead in their bedroom from an overdose of pain medication and alcohol, and Samuel is accused of poisoning her.
As secrets about their often tumultuous marriage come to light in the courtroom, Samuel must face a town and media convinced of his guilt, a daughter whose faith in her father has been shaken to its core, and the truth about his wife, who never ceased being a mystery to him. Sandrine’s Case is a powerful novel about the evil that can lurk within the heart of a seemingly ordinary man, and whether true love can be reawakened after death.
“Sandrine’s Case is a story of love lost and rediscovered during the course of a murder trial. Who but Thomas H. Cook could blend love and death with such seamless elegance? He remains one of my favorite writers.” —Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author of author of Stay Close and Six Years
“[A] consistently engaging court procedural. . . . The courtroom proceedings thrillingly advance the narrative to its surprising conclusion, but the real treat is Cook’s tender, gradual exploration of the push and pull between Samuel and Sandrine, an unlikely pair.” —People (three stars)
“With Sandrine’s Case, Thomas H. Cook once again proves he’s one of the very best. It is gripping, moving, and elegiac. This book shows a master at work.” —Michael Connelly
“A mystery novel by Tom Cook is always something more, and unpredictable. In Sandrine’s Case, an anatomy of a marriage recalled by a (guilty?) husband on trial for his wife’s murder is also an unexpected love story.It is very difficult to resist turning pages rapidly to discover the outcome of this disturbing case.” —Joyce Carol Oates
“[A] slow-burning, intricate thriller . . . This crime novel, one of [Cook’s] best, builds to an unforeseen, but earned, climax.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A marvelous tale of human nature.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A remarkable piece of writing that sits right at the top of the genre.” —Deadly Pleasures
“Highly recommended.” —I Love a Mystery
“Another fine effort from the always insightful Cook.” —Booklist
“Often praised for the clarity of his prose and the sheer drive of his storytelling, [Cook] deserves a special citation for bravery.” —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“Cook has a patented way of bringing out the deep and vulnerable heart of a character. . . . It is tenderness and kindness that mark Thomas Cook’s novels and it is evident in the beautiful Sandrine’s Case as well.” —Murder By The Book
“One of the best mystery novels I’ve ever read. Cook has it all. The nuanced engaging characters, the clean and subtle plot, a perfectly imagined setting, and a slow-burn pacing that makes it impossible to stop reading. . . . Don’t miss it.” —The Globe and Mail (Canada)
“Bravo to Cook for giving us a story that slowly grows with intensity and depth. . . . [An] insightful, cleverly nonlinear novel.” —Rochelle O’Gorman, Christian Science Monitor
“[Cook’s] lyrical prose, his flawless movement back and forth in time, his utterly surprising ending, and his masterful use of suspense put Sandrine’s Case at the top of my list.” —And Sometimes She Writes
“Sandrine’s Case is loaded with quiet metaphor and shot through with turns of phrase that would fill a small notebook on their own. It can be read in one sitting. . . . Still, I suggest reading it slowly, taking in its nuances and perhaps even re-reading it after finishing, just to enjoy how Cook so carefully constructed it.” —Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter.com
“Cook is one of the finest crime writers of modern times. . . . Told in the sparest style, Sandrine gradually reveals the web of deceit that married couples can weave around each other until it threatens to suffocate them both: horrifying but hypnotizing.” —The Daily Mail (UK)
“A very good, intense read.” —Crime Segments
“[A] wonderful genre-breaking novel. . . . Sandrine’s Case is as good as anything written by Scott Turow and John Grisham.” —David Kinchen, Huntington News
“[A] riveting literary parable of loved lived, lost and regained, all conveyed through the jolting memories, reflections and revelations forced upon Sam during the course of a nail-biting murder trial. That Sandrine herself emerges fully drawn from these contemplations, the prime mover of a cathartic, unforeseen resolution, is just the crowning triumph of this masterwork of rare redemptive power.” —Winnipeg Free Press
“Cook supplely strips the courtroom thriller down to its bones and then animates it with a warm, beating heart. . . . [T]his is a story of the mysteries of a long marriage and of a couple who might or might not be meant for each other. Cook plays with and against the conventions of the noir mystery to craft a novel deeper and richer than the genre would seem to allow.” —Margaret Quamme, The Columbus Dispatch
“You can count on Thomas Cook for a riveting mystery novel that delves deep into the heart of its characters.” —Sun Star Courier (Cleveland)
“A tender love story in the form of a tense courtroom drama, Sandrine’s Case is mystery, metaphor, and morality wrapped together in a nifty package, a chance to observe grace (or treachery) under pressure. Thomas H. Cook’s elegant new novel offers all that great narrative pleasure. You’ll be baffled right up to the Wow of an ending. What a terrific story!” —Susan Isaacs, author of Compromising Positions and Goldberg Variations
“Who could write a gripping novel of tenderness and mercy—its subject a woman who might have decided to frame her husband for her own suspicious death? Thomas H. Cook has done just this. In his prime as a master storyteller, he goes from strength to strength.” —Jacqueline Mitchard, bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean
“Sandrine’s Case is heart-breaking, heart-stopping love story as well as a taut, gripping courtroom drama, woven as masterfully and diabolically as a hangman’s noose. Nobody does it better than Thomas H. Cook!” —Judith Kelman, best-selling author of Summer of Storms and The First Stone
“Sandrine’s Case brings to mind Body Heat and Presumed Innocent, those pinnacles of adultery, marriage and murder. Thomas H. Cook is at his best here as he grabs the reader by the throat and doesn’t let go until the verdict is announced.” —Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and The Red Thread
“From the compelling opening to the poignant resolution, Sandrine’s Case is a hauntingly beautiful and deeply moving novel that is at its core a story of a love both complex and enduring. Ingeniously conceived and elegantly written, it throbs with the suspense and insight into the human heart that we’ve come to expect of Thomas H. Cook.” —Anne D. LeClaire, author of Entering Normal and The Lavender Hour
Nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel
Named a Deadly Pleasure “Best Novel”
Shortlisted for the 2014 Lariat Award
A Globe & Mail Best Crime Book of the Year
A Deadly Pleasures Best Novel of the Year
A Spectator (UK) Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the 2014 Crimefest Award
A finalist for the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award for Literary Mystery/Suspense
Lost hope conceals a rapier in its gown, Sandrine wrote in the margins of her copy of Julius Caesar. Strange, but of all the things she’d said or written, this was the line I most wrenchingly recalled on the last day of my trial. Life should fill our ears with warning, I thought as I remembered how she’d penned this little piece of marginalia alongside one of Cassius’s melancholy speeches, but it falls silent at our infant cry.
Such was my conclusion as the jury foreman rose to render a verdict in my case, thus the moment when I would either hear, or not hear, the creak of a gallows floor. To some extent, their decision hardly mattered anymore. Regardless of the verdict, my trial had exposed everything, and from it, I’d learned that it is one thing to glance in a mirror, quite another to see what’s truly there.
On the first day of my trial, however, I’d been quite beyond so naked an understanding of murder, or of anything else for that matter.
All great revelations are hard won, Sandrine once told me, perhaps as a warning. But until the ordeal of my trial, all my revelations had been small, and none of them had been hard won. In fact, only one truth had seemed certain to me on the day my trial began: Harold Singleton, the prosecuting attorney, was out to get me.