Bree T's Reviews > Blue Monday

Blue Monday by Nicci French
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's review
Aug 21, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, crime, library-reads, series
Read on August 03, 2012

Frieda Klein is a psychotherapist, an analyst who suffers from insomnia. She spends her sleepless nights walking the streets of London, when it’s quiet and lonely and there won’t be people there to talk to her. She lives a solitary life, estranged from most of her family and keeping lovers at arms length, rarely allowing people into her home.

When her mentor and former boss makes a mistake, in order to try and contain the damage, Frieda steps in and takes a patient that had been recommended to him. Alan is suffering from panic attacks and anxiety which traces back to a desire to have children. He and his wife cannot conceive and Alan, for some unknown reason, is against adoption. He dreams of a redhead boy playing soccer, a boy he can describe in such detail that it can’t help ringing alarm bells for Frieda. She is forced to go to DCI Karlsson.

DCI Karlsson is investigating the disappearance of a five year old boy named Matthew who vanished without a trace from the street in between his primary school and a local shop. His mother was late to pick him up and Matthew slipped past the teacher on charge with an intent to buy a sweet or a packet of chips down at the shop and hasn’t been since since. There are no leads – and Karlsson has found that the only similarity to this case happened 22 years earlier when a five year old girl vanished while walking home with her older sister and was never found. When Frieda Klein makes an appointment and tells him that one of her patients has dreamed of a little boy, of taking a little who boy who looks like Matthew – and first dreamed of this before the boys disappearance, it is not really the sort of solid lead Karlsson is after but he is bound to look into it anyway.

Karlsson calls Frieda back into the investigation to interview the sister of the girl that disappeared all of those years ago, to see if they can unlock something in her memory that hasn’t been able to be accessed before. Frieda suddenly finds herself in the middle of this investigation and it is through her that the culprit will be discovered. Now it’s a race to find the young boy Matthew, hopefully still alive.

Blue Monday is the first book in the Frieda Klein series by husband and wife duo Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, who write under the pseudonym of Nicci French. I’ve never read a Nicci French novel before but I was sent the second novel in this series for review from Penguin AU (it was released last month) and when I know it’s a series with the same characters, I need to read them in order, even if there aren’t story lines that carry over. A lot of crime series can be read stand alone but I think there’s something in my genetic reading make up that means I need to read them in order! So I tracked this one down at my local library.

Frieda is an interesting character, she’s immediately established as being quite solitary, spending many hours by herself walking the London streets. The only family she seems to remain in contact with are her brother’s former wife Olivia and her daughter Chloe, who is 16. She’s unmarried, has no children but does have a lover named Sandy who so far, she has never even allowed into her house. They spend nights at Sandy’s house, or out. Quite a lot of time is taken in the book with Frieda before the connection that will link her to DCI Karlsson even comes about.

The mystery is suitably chilling enough – a snatched child is always something that will bring about heightened emotion and two snatched children that are 22 years apart but may somehow be connected draws even more emotion as it asks the question of could it be the same perpetrator and if so, what have they been doing in the intermittent years? There are similarities in the cases but there are also many differences and Karlsson has his work cut out for him linking them. He knows that the officer in charge of the first case retired always wondering what happened to that little girl that went missing, the one he was never able to find. Karlsson doesn’t want that to happen to him. He doesn’t want to always be thinking about a five year old little redheaded boy, what happened to him and the fact that he couldn’t bring closure (either of the good or bad kind) to his parents. He and Frieda don’t always see eye to eye (in fact they are often at loggerheads, Karlsson dismissing a lot of what Frieda does and Frieda doing things that really, a civilian shouldn’t be doing at all) but I enjoyed their partnership.

Blue Monday was a thoroughly enjoyable start to a new series, creating characters that I feel that I need to get to know more. There’s a lot about Frieda and Karlsson that has been left unsaid and I’m going to be following their evolving working relationship with interest as the series goes on. I’m definitely glad I chose to wait and read this one first before beginning the next novel, Tuesday’s Gone because I know that I’ll be able to enjoy that second novel a lot more now.

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08/02/2012 page 172

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