The Queen of French Noir is back with the second book in the Emily Roy & Alexis Castells series, Keeper, and I’m delighted to be a part of the blog tour, sharing my review with you today.
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…
To say Keeper was a highly anticipated read would be an understatement; the first book in this series, Block 46, ranked number one in my top books of 2017, so you can only image the high expectations I placed on this novel. A round of applause for Gustawsson because, my oh my, did she deliver another superb instalment in this series. If you haven’t read Block 46, I highly recommend you do and follow it up with this novel. I do believe you can enjoy this one as a standalone as it’s a new case, but you’ll lose out on the backstory of the characters.
Gustawsson has this amazing ability to tell multiple stories at once. You have the narrative beginning in 1888, London, not only does this bring the chill of Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror but, it also gives this novel a darkly delightful element of historical fiction. Combined with two present day (2015) narratives, set in London and Sweden, you have a complex plot that will keep you interested throughout. What I’ve just explained is made easy to follow as this novel has chapter headings, and this allows you to know exactly what time period and location you’re in.
What makes this book, and series, unique is the two main protagonists – Emily Roy is a profiler and Alexis Castells is a crime writer, and their relationship isn’t how you’d usually expect a “crime fighting duos” to be. All the characters in this book are so well developed; and as I learnt from reading Block 46, never underestimate Gustawsson’s character creation!
Keeper has the perfect blend of suspense, thrills and chills. Granted, I didn’t find the twist as jaw-dropping as in the previous book, but, jeez, Gustawsson knows how to spin a twist!
Seeing all the puzzle pieces fall into place is what makes this novel so enjoyable. The way everything connects, not just the past and present, but how every aspect of the plot comes together, it’s so good, you just have to take a moment and reflect back on how good it is! A masterfully crafted novel. And, so much thanks to Maxim Jakubowski for providing the translation.
When I read Block 46 last year, I said, if you only read one book I’ve recommended, make it that one; well, I’m saying the same thing this year – if you only read one book I’ve recommended this year, make it Keeper. Without a shadow of a doubt, the Roy and Castells series is one of my favourites, and I cannot wait for book three!
*My thanks to Orenda Books & Anne Cater (A Random Things Tour) for providing me with a copy of this book and inviting me to participate in the blog tour*
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 bestseller, with Keeper following suit. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.
FOLLOW THE KEEPER BLOG TOUR