Since I finished this 5* crime fiction read, I’ve been eagerly awaiting my stop on the blog tour so I can share my review with you all. Block 46 needs to be on your reading list, it’s fantastic! And how amazing is the cover!?!
Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.
It starts with a body – there are few openings that set my heart on fire but the ones that do, always start with a murder – you immediately have my full attention, who is the murderer, who is the victim, what is the motive? Not only does Gustawsson deliver a great crime thriller, this book also packs an emotional punch!
I really don’t want to elaborate on the above description too much because I want you to get maximum enjoyment from this book, like I did,
if when you read it so I’m going to be vague in my review. Murders in London and murders in Sweden, the modus operandi appear to be the same but why and how and who connects these crimes? Emily and Alexis are tasked with finding the answers, travelling back and forth between countries, with enough red herrings to keep me constantly on the edge of my seat. A serial killer thriller that is clever in plot and brilliant in delivery.
Parallel to the above narrative, we get the narrative of Erich, living through the horror of the concentration camps in 1944’s Nazi Germany.
“Fear paralysed their senses: it had replaced pain, thirst, hunger and extreme fatigue. Where were the sons, the daughters, the wives of these men?”
You’d be inhumane not to feel sympathy for Erich’s plight, the journey to the camp is horrific enough, before we even get to the arrival! Let alone, what happens in Block 46, Dr Fleisher needs an apprentice and he has chosen Erich. Rumour has it, people enter Block 46 but none ever come out, will that be true for Erich?
As you read this book, you know the past and present are connected, but Gustawsson does an amazing job at keeping us in suspense as to how the past has impacted the future. I can’t remember the last time an author played havoc with my emotions regarding the characters, turning on its head all that I thought I knew about the characters. There are those that you instantly like, those that you’re suspicious of and those that you don’t necessary like but they’re on the side of good in this fight against evil so you root for them anyway.
I’m not even going to talk about the plot twist, which I thought was exceptional! If you read only one book I’ve recommended this year, make it this one – emotive, thrilling and beautifully written. Maxim Jakubowski did a wonderful job translating the text, it really feels like nothing was lost in the translation. Nordic Noir you have met your match, French Noir, in the form of Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson!
I cannot wait to read Gustawsson’s next book!!!
*My thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for providing me with a digital copy of this book*
FOLLOW THE TOUR