Book Review: Zoran Drvenkar’s Sorry

Posted May 11, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Zoran Drvenkar’s Sorry


on September 20, 2011 and has 320 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Drvenkar claims this is a thriller; in my book, this was more of a horror story!

My Take

This was godawful horrible. I’ll give Sorry a “5” for the concept behind it and for the mechanics of the writing which was very good as well as the high level of horror, but Drvenkar kept it all so vague that I was never sure what was happening — a “2” in my book which averages out to a “3.5”.

I suspect the vagueness is necessary for part of the story — the part that holds back the identity of the murderer. But it goes too far in holding back everything in this mysterious plane of perplexity. And I do mean everything. Wolf and Erin’s time together, the part between Wolf first mentioning her through the meandering of his thoughts to the end is baffling. Meybach’s apartment, or is that apartments? The flashbacks that I have to decipher as to who is involved and when.

I can’t blame the murderer. Not really. Not as the truth unfolds. What I do blame is the original victims not going to someone from the start. Just like the foursome later on not going to the authorities from the beginning of their ordeal. It’s sad what eventually happens. The destruction and loss. So much that was preventable.

Nor does he have any right to pull them into his own mess, his own head trip. It’s not their fault, what happened to him.

Then WTF is Frauke thinking? Yes, it’s the right thing, but only AFTER she’s spoken with her friends. And she just keeps making it worse and worse. As for Tamara and that shovel…again, WTF?

Then the threesome from the other side of all this. God, their justifications. I’ll never understand how they can be okay with this. How they can accept this as a “good thing”. I just want to retch — and get out my own hammer.

I’m rarely sure from chapter to chapter who’s speaking. His use of “After” and “Before” on the chapter headings is confusing — my brain started racing by the second chapter, trying to figure out what’s going on. In some ways I appreciated how Drvenkar introduced the four principal protagonists, but I also think this could have been slid more smoothly into the story as opposed to just dumped in. It was as though he couldn’t figure out how to introduce them and finally gave up.

Drvenkar does create some interesting back stories for his characters. Perhaps the vague meandering is representative of how life really works and Drvenkar is replicating this. All I know is I don’t like it. Huh, who knew I’d be complaining when the author can’t make me cry… I regret some of the grief that’s caused, but…I have a hard time dredging up much in the way of empathy. I guess it’s all the stupid things that happen.

The Story

It’s a brilliant idea — all those jerks, cowards, and shy people out there who can’t say they’re sorry. In some ways, they won’t say it even when they know they should.

Instead, Sorry steps up to handle it for you. Easy. A relief for both sides, in different ways. Only, someone perverts the idea. Subverts their intention of Sorry as a way to help people heal.

The Characters

It’s the jerk in the park that sparks the concept in Kris Marrer‘s head. He’s just been terminated and jobs are scarce. Wolf is his younger brother. One still suffering from Erin‘s death. Lutger Marrer is their father; their mother ran off on them years ago.

Tamara Berger is also jobless, and she’s mooching a place to live off her sister Astrid. She had a daughter, Jenni, some years ago with David, but decided she wasn’t cut out for motherhood. Frauke Lewin is her best friend, has been for years. Frauke’s mother, Tanja, is confined to a private clinic while her father, Gerd, owns a construction company and mourns her absence, tries to bury it with girlfriends. Frauke tends to have a variety of temporary jobs when and as she needs extra money.

Bernd Jost-Degen is the boss who can’t lie. The Belzens — Joachim and Helena — are their new neighbors across the water. A sweet couple. Franziska, “Fanni“, and Karl Fichtner are not a sweet couple. “Butch” and “Sundance” are best friends. Marco M is a drug dealing friend of Kris’ from school with useful connections. Gerald is Frauke’s friend from the criminal investigations department. Jonas Kronauer is another policeman. Samuel is looking after the Belzens’ house.

Julia Lambert is a target for Sorry, one for whom Kris concocts a different approach. Hessmann is the client. Frank Löffler is another victim. Dorothea Haneff is one who deserves her fate. Lars Meybach is a client.

The Cover and Title

The cover is stark. A deep dark background that forces the focus onto the crumpled white paper, slightly askew on the front with the title, its genre, and the author’s name on it. Nailed and bleeding.

The title is what it’s all about — Sorry. That’s just the way it is.


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