The Inmate, by Sebastian Fitzek

9 Jun 2023

The Book

The Inmate
Pages: 348
Age Group: Adult
Published on 8 Jun 2023
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Available on:


A missing child. A desperate father. A monster with a terrible secret.

Guido T. has already confessed to two horrific child murders and led the Berlin police to the horribly disfigured bodies. The police are sure he is also the kidnapper and murderer of six-year-old Max, who disappeared without trace a year ago. But now Guido T., who is being held in the high-security ward of a psychiatric prison hospital, is staying silent. The investigators have no reliable evidence. And without the prisoner's statement, Max's parents will have no certainty and will never be able to say goodbye to their son.

One day, an investigator from the homicide commission makes Max's desperate father an unbelievable offer: he will smuggle the distraught parent into the hospital where Guido T. is imprisoned. Max's father will be listed as a fake patient, equipped with a fake medical record. He will be as close as he possibly can to the child killer, and plans to force the killer into a confession. Because nothing is worse than uncertainty.

Or so he thinks. Until he, as an inmate, learns the gruesome truth...  

My Review

The Inmate is a fast-paced thriller, written by the German author Sebastian Fitzek, and which has been translated into English by the hand of Aries Fiction. A missing child, a desperate father, and a psychopath who is refusing to talk about what happened to the child are some of the elements that shape this gripping story, which manages to become unnerving due to the excellent character build job made by Fitzek.

Guido T., a confessed murderer of two, is also suspected of being guilty of the disappearance of Max. But while he confessed the other two, he's keeping radio silence about this last one, getting recluded into a high-security institution. For Max's parents, this was a big hit, as they can't part ways with their past without a statement from the assassin; Till, the father, decides to infiltrate as a patient in the institution, with the help of the lead investigator, in order to see if he can force the confession of Guido, risking his personal security just to put peace into his mind.

Fitzek takes those elements to create a thriller full of surprises and twists, most of which you won't see coming. He certainly excels at writing characters, making you uncomfortable each time you are following the psychopath's mind, while suffering reading those parents struggling to uncover the truth behind their child's disappearance. Till will experiment with an authentic hell during his stance in the mental institution, but nothing is worse than the uncertainty.

The pacing is frenetic, not giving a single moment where you could say it is less intense. I admit that I devoured this book in merely an afternoon, because I wanted to know what happened next, something partially motivated by the chapter length (I love short chapters).

The Inmate is proof of Fitzek's skill as a thriller writer. If you love the genre, you should totally give a try to this book, because it will be one of the best reads you can do.

The Author/s

Sebastian Fitzek

Sebastian Fitzek

Sebastian Fitzek is one of Europe's most successful authors of psychological thrillers. His books have sold 13 million copies, been translated into more than twenty-four languages and are the basis for international cinema and theatre adaptations. Sebastian Fitzek was the first German author to be awarded the European Prize for Criminal Literature. He lives with his family in Berlin.