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 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.
Surprise! A second Johana Gustawsson review in two days, it is #Orentober after all and we aim to please. As I shared yesterday, this was the year for me to catch up on some Orenda Book delights that I may have missed first time around, this includes the first two instalments of the Roy & Castells crime fiction series. Of course I read them back to back (okay maybe not immediately, I had to read a delightful comic read between!). Keeper is the second in the series, published in 2018 and translated brilliantly by Maxim Jakubowski. Johana has quickly become the Queen of French Noir following the highly acclaimed Block 46, you can treat yourself to both here.
Keeper is a chillingly brilliant addition to the Roy & Castells series, that follows the format laid out in Block 46, using a present day bloodshed with a possible attachment to monstrous parts of history while spreading it over countries in the perfect way that Johana does, with an eagle eye to grotesque detail and the echoing psychopathic psychology that flows right through the book. Keeper sees the reconnection of Emily and Alexis after five years, I couldn’t be happier, with the women’s characters still reeling from traumatic experiences that occurred within Block 46 we welcome a new addition that almost makes out duo a trio. With the introduction of new characters and a completely new timeline comes a new range of shock, emotion and illicit contents.
From the blurb we are aware that in a man was previously arrested for their hand in brutal mutilation of women’s bodies in London that reflect those that occurred at the hands of the infamous unidentified ‘Jack the Ripper’ – another time in history that is hugely prolific. Johana again casts her threads, then upon them carefully settling, she begins to plait them into a suspense filled tale that is tightly wound and disturbing, yet inescapable – Johana’s use of atmosphere, details and settings has been concocted in a way that you’ll find yourself being drawn further into her fictional twist on true events. Although the way in which this book is set mirrors that of the previous book, it so works because of the breath of fresh sinister that will keep you on tenterhooks trying to work out how the past and present will become interlocked, yet have 100 years that separate them.
Keeper just shows why Johana has been given the title as Queen of French Noir and I am pretty sure that title is not up for discussion! This series is not only filled with nightmarish visualisation, crime fiction and shiver-worthy scenes, but it also peaks the historian in you, as well as the ‘what if’ curiosity mixed with a alluring educational flair. This is really a series that you need to get your hands on, cancel all plans, grab your favourite hot drink (snacks may not be required if you have a weak stomach) but settle down and jump into the world of Roy & Castells, i’ll see you on the other-side!
So, there you have it, the #Orentober book recommendation of the day! Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for tomorrow’s post where I conclude the French noir trio, with my throwback of Blood Song. Thank-you for popping in to read my review, please share your thoughts with me if you’ve already read Keeper – or if you grab a copy after this review, tag me and #Orentober in your book pictures!
Until next time,