Time to share my favourite read of the month! For February it was the outstanding ‘Block 46’ by Johana Gustawsson. I am on the blog tour for the follow-up novel ‘Keeper’ in April and I cannot wait.
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 Ebner 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.
I had read a huge amount of favourable reviews for ‘Block 46’, it sounded exactly like my kind of read and I trusted my fellow bloggers with the recommendation. Well, I was not disappointed. This has to be one of the best crime novels I have ever read (and I’ve read a lot of them!) Right from the first page I was under Johana Gustawsson’s spell, gripped by her narrative, ensnared by her tale. I couldn’t tear myself away.
Our two main characters, the brusque and cold Emily Roy and the intelligent, investigative Alexis Castells, make a great pair. They both have past hurts that have caused them to build up walls around people. They are both like a dog with a bone, seeking the truth, finding the culprit with a powerful sense of determination. In ‘Block 46’ we see the beginnings of a tentative friendship built on a mutual respect and admiration of each other. I’m looking forward to seeing how this relationship develops.
This is a read that is not for the faint of heart. It is brutal and chilling. Johana Gustasswon transports readers back to a horrific time period, her harrowing descriptions of Buchenwald Concentration Camp will leave you feeling deathly cold and unsteady. The mutilations of the modern day victims will chill you to the bone. I’m quite good at detaching myself from graphic and gory books, but ‘Block 46’ certainly got under my skin and tested my ability to leave a fictional world behind.
The book is full of twists and the short chapters just helped me to devour it. It’s a piece of very clever, very skilled and intricately plotted writing. I cannot wait for book two, this is already looking to be one of my favourite crime series’. Gripping, unique, chilling, this is a book that will haunt me for a long time. Bloody brilliant!
Born in 1978 in Marseilles 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. The second Roy and Castells novel is due to be released in 2018.