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Sandrine's Case

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  797 Ratings  ·  191 Reviews
Thomas H. Cook offers one of his most compelling novels ever in Sandrine's Case, in which a college professor falls in love with his wife all over again...while on trial for her murder.

Samuel Madison always wondered what Sandrine saw in him. He was a meek, stuffy doctorate student, and she a brilliant, beautiful, bohemian with limitless talents and imagination. On the surf
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Mysterious Press (first published August 1st 2013)
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Andrew Smith
May 26, 2015 Andrew Smith rated it really liked it
Ever since I read (actually, devoured in a single day) Red Leaves I’ve been hoping I’d find another book from Thomas H Cook that would have the same emotional impact, a similar ‘cant put you down’ quality. This one doesn’t quite pull it off but it comes closer than any of his other books I’ve read.

It’s the story of Sam Madison, an English Professor at a Deep South college, who stands accused of the murder of his wife – also an English Professor at the same college – who died as a result of an ov
Diane S ⛄
Jul 16, 2013 Diane S ⛄ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roadrallyteamb
Thomas Cook is an author that I think never quite garners the attention he deserves for his writing. I have read all or most of all his novels and while there are some I liked more than others, they were all well written in his own particular style.

This book is amazing, brilliantly structured about a man on trial, for the murder of his wife. What we learn about their marriage, their relationships with others, their work and family life, their hopes and dreams, we learn throughout the trial. It
Jun 11, 2013 Alton rated it it was amazing
Thomas H. Cook is one of those extraordinary authors who are able to write prose like poetry expressing a keen appreciation of the human condition. A murder trial in a smalltown Georgia courtroom provides the setting for this story which is told by an author who knows how to play the Pied Piper to his readers. For years Cook has been appreciated by the trade magazines, newspapers and his peers in the mystery world, as well as those readers seeking a well thought out, refined, captivating read. H ...more
Aug 21, 2013 Gatorman rated it liked it
After reading this latest from Cook, I've come to realize that I just don't enjoy his books the way I used to. While it is generally entertaining, there are several issues which kept it from being up to the old standard to which Cook used to meet. The characters are annoying and just don't ring true. Cook has developed a bad habit of having them talk in ultra-sophisticated and intellectual ways that makes them seem unreal. Too many convenient flashbacks to odd memories that seem totally out of p ...more
Aug 07, 2013 Bandit rated it liked it
There is an Ian Fleming story Quantum of Solace (not actually what the Bond film's based on) and in it the title refers to the small degree of comfort that can exist between two people emotionally in a relationship. The Governor character in the Ian Fleming short story of the same name defines it as “… a precise figure defining the comfort, humanity and fellow feeling required between two people for love to survive. If the quantum of solace is nil, then love is dead.” What we have in Sandrine's ...more
Aug 14, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
SANDRINE’S CASE. (2013). Thomas H. Cook. ****.
Cook is a marvelous writer, and this one displays his talent to the best advantage. Although the story is mostly set in a courtroom, this is not a legal thriller. It is a sensitive exploration of a marriage, and what went wrong with it. We meet Sam and Sandrine Madison. They have been married for many years, and have a lovely house in a small college town in Georgia. They both teach at the college. Sandrine learns that she has Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a
Sep 22, 2013 LindaW rated it really liked it
Shelves: at-library
4.5 stars. An excellent read! We are in the courtroom with Professor Sam Madison who is on trial for the murder of his wife Sandrine. He listens as the prosecution presents the case against him and comes to the shocking realization that he could actually be convicted of murdering his wife. His world has crumbled and he is crumbling also. Bit by bit as he ponders his current situation and reflects on his recent and early relationship with Sandrine he sees how he lost the person he once was and mo ...more
Nancy Oakes
Sep 03, 2013 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it
Perhaps I shouldn't just automatically go lumping Sandrine's Case into the category of crime fiction. I suppose it could be labeled as "courtroom drama," as noted on a back-cover blurb, but in my head that brings to mind something à la John Grisham, which this book is most definitely not. No, this one is tough to pigeonhole, so I won't even try. In this novel, by one of my favorite writers, the reader doesn't even know if there has even been a crime, although the majority of the action takes pl ...more
Jun 15, 2014 Pattie rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! Thomas Cook has done it again. He is an incredibly talented writer and a joy to read. Sandrine's Case is the story of college professor Sam Madison who is on trial for the murder of his wife, Sandrine. The book is set up as a courtroom drama (for use of a better word) with flashbacks throughout of Sam and Sandrine's life together. Cook's prose is masterful and the book is littered with fantastic literary images and comparisons. The book shows how marriage is entered into with love and ...more
Mar 13, 2014 Carol rated it it was amazing
Satisfied! That's the feeling I had as I read the last page of Sandrine's Case. Quiet applause to Thomas H. Cook as tears welled in my eyes for this emotional story of a marriage. There have been several books dissecting the state of holy matrimony this past year. In some the characters have been so unreliable you don't know who to believe. Not the case here. Cook's marital partners are all too real and honest though it takes patience and thought to see each for who they are.

The Madison's, Sand
Feb 08, 2014 KarenC rated it it was ok
Recommended to KarenC by: Edgar nomination

My first book by Cook. I was not encouraged. Some of the traits that I disliked most in the character of Samuel Madison and in the book provided an accurate reflection of Madison's character: pedantic, verbose, aloof, self-centered.

The plot is focused around the trial of Samuel Madison for the murder of his wife, Sandrine. Many chapters begin with the courtroom examination of a witness as the county prosecutor presents his case against Madison. Each witness brings up some situation that causes

Bonnie Brody
Sandrine's Case by Thomas Cook is an interesting novel about the death of a 46 year-old woman named Sandrine. Was it suicide or was she murdered by her husband Sam? The novel's structure is in the form of a courtroom drama and takes place on each day of the trial with each witness testifying for or against the accused. During the course of the trial, Sam reminisces about Sandrine and their original meeting and love affair, the early days of their marriage and Sandrine's personality. He also cons ...more
Feb 06, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting and enjoyable story, told by Samuel Madison during his trial for the alleged murder of his wife Sandrine.

I loved the exquisite writing, although at times overwritten and verbose, and the manner in which the story flowed from past to present, from court room to home, motel room to neighbors house, from Mediterranean travel to backyard gazebo. A symphony of words comes to mind as I could feel the relationship of Sam and Sandrine evolving over time and their marriage tw
Kathleen Nightingale
I feel that this book was rushed - the concept, the story, the editor and the proofreader -- all of which took away from the book itself.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who read this book came away thinking Gone Girl was a hit, who could write another. The publishers came up with Thomas H. Cook. I didn't feel that Sandrine's character was totally fleshed out - it certainly could have received more work. I did like how Cook placed the setting all within a courtroom and had the protagonist - Sam - d
Thomas Bruso
Jul 31, 2014 Thomas Bruso rated it it was amazing
Another homerun from one of my favorite authors, “Sandrine’s Case” is a must-read for followers of Thomas H Cook.

Professor Samuel Madison is on trial for the death of his wife, Sandrine. Beautifully and evocatively written, the novel is told from the perspective of Samuel, as he ruminates on his disturbing, searing past.

Most of the novel is told in flashbacks, and the reader follows the ups and downs and twisty road of Samuel and Sandrine’s life, as Samuel battles for his future, listening to we
David Kinchen
Aug 06, 2013 David Kinchen rated it it was amazing

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. -- Leo Tolstoy, opening sentence of "Anna Karenina."

One of the joys of book reviewing is discovering a new -- to the reviewer -- author at the height of his or her powers. It's also a source of frustration when the reviewer discovers the author has been around for a long time! The situation is unavoidable because one person -- even a voracious reader like the present reviewer -- can read only so many books.

I found my
Lynn Shurden
Aug 22, 2013 Lynn Shurden rated it it was amazing
It's been years since I've read a Thomas Cook book and I must say I don't know what made me stop reading his books. Sandrine's Case was such an insightful book into how marriages change and what makes us act as we do. And I'm still not certain of whether he killed Sandrine or not. Cook's command of the language and references to various literary works lets the reader know what a learned person he is. And it is so nice to read an author who writes well.
Feb 14, 2014 Maureen rated it really liked it
I was enthralled with this book and found the story to be chock full of contrasts, conflict, and even contradiction. Samuel Madison is on trial for the murder of his beautiful wife Sandrine who had recently been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. The brunt of the book takes place in the courtroom, and inside Sam's head. His streams of consciousness, his observations and ruminations all make for good reading.

To me the contrasts were plentiful; the beauty and brilliance of Sandrine versus the or
Oct 23, 2013 Yasmin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Needs Improvements – 2 stars

Sandrine’s Case was a disappointing read for me. I’ve read other books with similar themes/storylines (courtroom/trial, setting; husband accused of killing his wife) that were done better and lived up to expectations. The storyline was boring; or maybe it was just the narrator as I listened to the audiobook and the voiceover never really grabbed me. But, this could have been because the plot just wasn’t that engaging and he had very little to work with.

The characters
Oct 05, 2013 Gerald rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judith Kirscht
Oct 22, 2014 Judith Kirscht rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The genius of this book is the gradual unearthing of character and relationships. Sam Madison is on trial for the murder of his wife, Sandrine. As the prosecution unfolds the details of her death and the evidence against him, Sam relives their marriage. From the awkward doctoral student blown away by the love of the beautiful Sandrine, to their lives as professors at a small college and the brilliant rise of Sandrine as a Cleopatra scholar, to his own failure to write the novel that was his life ...more
Elizabeth A
Apr 21, 2015 Elizabeth A rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
This was my book club selection this month, and I am clearly the wrong audience for it. If it had not been for book club, I would have bailed on it about 25 or so pages in.

Sandrine is dead, and her husband is on trial for her murder. But I'm not sure I'd classify this one as a mystery, or even a crime story. It is more an exploration of a long term term relationship, what the people in it know and do not know, and whether any of our relationships could withstand the scrutiny of a trial.

I have m
Sep 25, 2013 Valerie rated it it was amazing
I think this is one of Thomas Cook's best books to date. It is the story of a marriage and a tragedy, but the way Mr. Cook develops the characters just hit me like a punch in the stomach so to speak. Sam Madison is on trial for the murder of his wife, Sandrine. But that being the basic plot, the story is so very much more than that. The central issue surrounding the plot is human kindness, and how a person may lose that quality, and then with great fortune and great love, regain that very qualit ...more
Michele Whitecotton
Sep 06, 2013 Michele Whitecotton rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent novel mixing mystery with the courtroom and I loved it. It is the story of Sandrine, diagnosed with ALS, and the trial to determine whether she committed suicide or whether her husband killed her. I can't tell too much of the plot or it will give it away because there is definitely an OMG moment when the lightbulb switches on and everything is clear. The story is most told in the courtroom while listening to the prosecutor call witnesses as Sandrine's husband can't possibly ...more
Jan 29, 2014 Marlene rated it really liked it
I picked this up because of a Globe review. Happy I did. Lately I have been reading a lot of mysteries, just because I like some of the authors and haven't found anything better. Sandrine's Case is presented as a mystery, but it really isn't and those looking for a mystery type of book will be disappointed. It is a story of a man who has lost his way, having become cynical and arrogant. He has also lost his relationships with friends, colleagues, wife, and daughter. Through an ingenious plot, he ...more
Oct 03, 2015 Tian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rated-5
WOW WOW WOW. This was such an amazing book. I have never read a crime novel like this before. It was written so well, so intricately planned. I love how whilst Sam is sitting in the courtroom, he has flash backs of when Sandrine was still alive. It was delicately written, and there were so many twists and scandals throughout and it was such an interesting case. I also loved the various news articles seeded throughout, informing the reader of things that weren't revealed in other parts of the cas ...more
Renita D'Silva
Dec 08, 2014 Renita D'Silva rated it really liked it
Loved this clever, beautiful book about complicated love within a longstanding marriage. Really liked this story about a man finding himself after his wife's murder. Will be reading more by Thomas.H. Cook.
Apr 05, 2014 Janet rated it really liked it
Wonderful writing and suspenseful....I only wish we had been allowed to know the characters a little better....I didn't really "feel" their pain.
Jul 24, 2014 Sherry rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just wow. Just read it. Don't read the cover notes, don't read the reviews. Just read the book.
MK Wachter
Jul 13, 2014 MK Wachter rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read in a long time! This one has so many elements that I enjoy in a book -- courtroom drama, legal thriller, interesting characters, small college town setting, and a good ending that I did not anticipate. But it also offered something else that I wasn't expecting....a tale of self-examination. What kind of a person have you become? How did you get there? And how can we change our path if we don't like the end result? This is the first book I've read of this author bu ...more
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Thomas H. Cook has been praised by critics for his attention to psychology and the lyrical nature of his prose. He is the author of more than 30 critically-acclaimed fiction books, including works of true crime. Cook published his first novel, Blood Innocents, in 1980. Cook published steadily through the 1980s, penning such works as the Fra
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“Some truths hit harder than others.” 0 likes
“a horribly protracted death that would stretch into the indefinite future, a death not in one month or two or even three but one that might go on and on, with the whole process of dying getting worse every single day for years and years and years.” 0 likes
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