Friday 6 July 2018

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks Translated by Maxim Jakubowski #Keeper #FrenchNoir

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. Following the highly acclaimed Block 46 and guaranteed to disturb and enthral, Keeper is a breathless thriller from the new queen of French Noir.

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 28 April 2018, it is the second in the Roy and Castells series, following on from Block 46, and was translated from the French by Maxim Jakubowski.

What an amazing, roller-coaster of a read! I settled down to read Keeper whilst I was on holiday in Corfu, and hardly left my seat by the pool for the entire book. It's a story that intrigues, that pulls the reader into its heart. It's grim, dark, and at times, incredibly oppressive, but it's also a novel that made me gasp out loud, and I was completely and utterly under this amazing author's spell throughout the whole story. 

I am a huge fan of dual time frame stories and Keeper is set in 1888 London and 2015 Sweden. This author seamlessly links together two very different places in two very different eras. There is evidence of her meticulous research running through the book as she describes the horror of one of the best-known unsolved murder cases in British history; Jack The Ripper,  and ties it into a very modern murder in Scandinavia

Johana Gustawsson pulls no punches, she doesn't protect her readers from anything. There are some horrific murders committed here, with some dark and twisted characters to boot. Despite this, Keeper is not always oppressive and dark; this author creates characters who are so fully formed that you begin to think that you actually know them, in real life.

Having worked at Rampton Hospital for many years; the 'sister' hospital of Broadmoor, I was intrigued to see how the author would deal with that setting. She did it well, in fact, she did it very well and her portrayal of Richard Hemfield; the convicted serial killer, held in Broadmoor was frighteningly real.

It's difficult to explain how such a grotesque plot line can be so beautifully written. The author has a delicate touch with words, and then, out of nowhere, her writing becomes darker and vicious as she brings the horrific scenes to the reader.

Once again,  Orenda Books have produced a book cover that is stunning and depicts the story within so well. Johana Gustawsson is a brave and talented author, her words are stunning. This is top-quality crime fiction that will delight and satisfy the most discerning reader. An absolute triumph.

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. 

Follow her on Twitter @JoGustawsson

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