The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when a picture of his face is splashed over the newspapers, psychotherapist Frieda Klein is left troubled: one of her patients has been relating dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew.
Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson doesn't take Frieda's concerns seriously until a link emerges with an unsolved child abduction twenty years ago and he summons Frieda to interview the victim's sister, hoping she can stir hidden memories. Before long, Frieda is at the center of the race to track the kidnapper.
But her race isn't physical. She must chase down the darkest paths of a psychopath's mind to find the answers to Matthew Farraday's whereabouts.
And sometimes the mind is the deadliest place to lose yourself.
First Line: In this city there were many ghosts.
Random Quote: Olivia believed that order was a king of prison that prevented you experiencing things, and that recklessness and chaos were expressions of freedom, but for Frieda, it was order that allowed you the freedom to think, to let thoughts into the space you had created for them, to find a proper name and shape for the ideas and feelings that were lifted up during the days like silt and weeds, and that by naming them, in some sense lay them to rest. Some thing wouldn't rest. They were like muddy clouds in the water, stirring beneath the surface and filling her with unease.
Review: Nicci French is actually a married couple who write as a team - Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. I haven't read them before, but the plot description grabbed me and I dug in.
I keep reading British thrillers that blow me away and are often by writers who are new to me - Sister by Rosamund Lupon and Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton come to mind. Blue Monday just joined that category. There is something very delicate about the way this book is written and the way its story unfolds.
Against the backdrop of a child abduction, we are introduced to Frieda Klein, a psychoanalyst living very much inside of her head - a woman after my own heart because she walks all over London (just as I do all over Berkeley). The story of the child abduction and the various ways it comes to be connected to another abduction and, sort of, solved is the context that Frieda inhabits. In many ways the strength of the telling lies with the focus on character and relationship and inner voices, rather than the actual (very disturbing) set of crimes.
|London, Thames Embankment, 1890 (image source)|
There are wonderful secondary characters, my favorite being Josef, the Ukrainian builder who appears in the book quite suddenly. I don't want to give too much away, but his appearance and subsequent involvement with events in the book is a highlight. Josef brings the real, practical world of maintaining the structures the making living in the world possible in a way that is real, interesting, and much needed. He is not living in his head, but in the world.
Add the starring role that London plays, a disturbing and effective mystery and you have a great read. I'll definitely look for the second in this series.
See below for a chance to win a copy of this book and stay tuned tomorrow for an author Q&A.
FTC Disclosure: Advance copy from publisher for review
Publishing Information: Pamela Dorman Books - March 1, 2011
Format: E-galley on Kindle
Reading Challenges: Mystery and Suspense Challenge