Published – Orenda Books April 2018
A breathless new thriller from the Queen of French Noir
Sequel to the international bestseller Block 46
Next in the award-winning Roy & Castells Series
Murders in London and Sweden lead the team back to Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel…
Whitechapel 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.
London 2015: Actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.
Falkenberg, Sweden 2015: A woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlet’s victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is copy-cat serial killer on the loose?
Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with potential links that turn their world upside down…
I read Block 46 review here and this book consecutively and in immediate succession, which I thought might be overkill, but actually wasn’t. I was intrigued to see how the Roy and Castells story continued and without any spoilers was impressed with how the author worked this.
Similar to Block 46 and as indicated in the book description the plot of Keeper covers a current crime with similarities to a series of murders a decade previous in Tower Hamlets and further back in time to the notorious but unsolved killings by Jack the Ripper. I love this link with history and in Keeper and Block 46 this original aspect definitely gets my vote, the author has selected to horrendous moments in time which continue to peak the interest of people today. I would say the link with Jack the Ripper, while solid felt a tad tenuous to me but entertained and added a dimension to the story which worked very well.
Written in the same style as Block 46, in real time and location to the hour and from several different perspectives. There are 2 concurrent investigations, clearly linked in London and Falkenberg and the key players investigating, on both sides of the North Sea are pleasantly familiar to readers of the first book. The plot was strong and intricate and I felt there was a requirement on me to pay attention to detail, something I struggle with on my Kindle, as I find it harder to refer back, ideally this book would have been a physical read, but that is a personal and minor critique! The telling of the story predominantly from the points of view of those investigating meant that the reader was gathering evidence at the same time, I for one am not in a league with profiler Emily Joy but I enjoyed feeling I was drawing closer to working it out and was impressed with her thinking! The bad guys were suitably bad and again Johana Gustawsson doesn’t shy away from detailing the grimmer aspects of humanity – we’re reading crime right!
The development of Roy and Castells and the revelation of more details of them personally was welcome and necessary for any fiction series. Detective Olofsson, I found myself warming to, was he slightly less offensive I wonder or am I just getting used to him! The introduction of trainee Alienor Lindbergh was superb, not only did her unique skills progress the case, but personally I felt this was an incredibly positive portrayal of someone with Aspergers Syndrome.
I could go on, but suffice to say I liked this book immensely. Personally reading the books in order I think gives a wider reading experience but isn’t essential.
About the Author
Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. Her debut, Block 46, was an award-winning, international bestseller, with Keeper following suit. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.
Translated by Maxim Jakubowski.
This is a blog tour so huge thanks to both Anne Cater for organising and Orenda Books. Do check out the other stops on the tour –