I am absolutely buzzin’ to be a part of this #BlogTour
Keeper is the second novel in the Roy and Castells series but it can easily be read as a standalone. I do not feel my reading experience was hampered by not having read the first in the series.
Now, the author’s first novel with Orenda, Block 46, was a huge success and it is to my eternal shame that I have yet to read this! But believe me after devouring Keeper then I shall be making sure I remedy this very soon!
Before I share my thoughts here’s what the official blurb says:
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 10 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 Hamlets 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 a 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 personal links that turn their world upside down.
Keeper is one of those books that you finish and you think OMG what actually have I just read! That kind where you slump back in the chair feeling a little bit broken, sad that it is over but overwhelmed that you got to experience it! I feel a little anxious about writing this review as I honestly do not think I can do justice to the brilliance that was this book! I certainly am not going to tell you anymore about the plot that is in the blurb for fear of giving away any spoilers.
Like me, you might read that blurb and think OK London in the 1800s, Sweden and London in 2015, how the hell is that all going to work out? Believe me when I say it does, it most seriously does! Keeper switches effortlessly between the countries and the centuries and the author’s meticulous plotting is like watching the pieces of a jigsaw slot into place right before your eyes. It is magical!
Dramatic and descriptive narrative places the reader firmly in the place and the era of each scene; indeed it was difficult to refrain from scratching at myself as I found myself immersed in the dark, foul, rat infested streets of Whitechapel in 1888 to the fresh air and cleanliness of the Swedish countryside in 2015 and back to the hustle and bustle of London in 2015.
The author has created a tremendous cast of characters, each of them authentic, each of them well-developed and engaging. Each of them making their way inside your head and staying there for a long time after you turn the last page.
Alexis Castells and Emily Roy are a unique pairing in crime fiction; this investigation sees both women take a very different approach, each holding very different beliefs in who is responsible for the present day killings and whether or not the right man is in prison for the murders of ten years before. Perhaps, however, my favourite character was law student, Ailenor, who was on placement with the Swedish police department at the time of the investigation; her logical and literal approach to events was refreshing and she almost reminded me a little of Spencer from Criminal Minds. I found her delightfully intriguing and I would love to see more of her.
One of the most disturbing characters was the man currently incarcerated for the Tower Hamlet murders; there is one scene where he is visited in Broadmoor as part of the investigation and I am saying nothing but “Silence of the Lambs” eat your bloody heart out! This character got under my skin and not in a good way! Oh my, my skin is still crawling thinking about him!
Given the dark themes of the book, which include sexual abuse, child abuse and murder there are a whole host of characters who you will wish you had never met! The narrative is never gratuitous, it is disturbing at times but entirely fitting to the novel. The brilliantly simplistic way in which the author presents this narrative makes it all the more chilling to read.
Three deliciously dark plots intertwine each of them challenging the reader to focus, to give their full attention to the narrative and to the characters. This attention will be rewarded tenfold as the plots unfold, twists and turns revealed and connections made until you reach an outstanding climax leaving your jaw firmly bouncing off the floor!
Keeper is available to purchase from:
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers have been saying about Keeper
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 best seller with Keeper following suit. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.