Book Review – Blue Monday by Nicci French

The husband and wife team that is ‘Nicci French’ certainly know how to create a riveting page-turner! As much as I loathe reading about missing children and the pain and torment created by their loss, for all who are left behind, I just couldn’t put this one down. From the opening pages, where an exasperated Rose is walking home from school with her annoying little sister Joanna, you just know that tragedy is imminent. Fast forward some 20 years, and we meet our main (and to be honest, not entirely likeable) character Frieda Klein, a psychotherapist who clearly has many of her own unresolved issues. As we helplessly follow the gut-wrenching disappearance of yet another child, little Matthew, we meet Frieda’s dysfunctional group of cohorts: her mentor Reuben, in the throes of his own personal breakdown; the kindly, quite lovely sounding Ukranian, Josef; Frieda’s confused, rebellious niece, Chloe, and Chloe’s mom, Olivia – who does not seem to possess a single coping mechanism; the unfathomable police inspector Karlsson; and Frieda’s lover, Sandy. It is a race to the finish, as we breathlessly try to pursue any likely avenue down which Matthew might be stowed. We know he is being kept alive, through regular passages written in Matthew’s young, immature voice, giving devastating descriptions of his perception of what is happening to him. The final twist is so astounding that it leaves one quite astonished and amazed! The story is so cleverly written, and by then you are just so engrossed, that you won’t see it coming!

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