Today it’s Mandie’s turn to take over our Year of Orenda once again, this time with her review of Keeper, book two in the Roynand Castells series by Johana Gustawsson. The book takes the action back to Jack The Ripper’s London and I loved it. You can find out just how much right here. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books
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.
Having absolutely loved Block 46 I couldn’t wait to delve into Keeper the next instalment of the Castells and Roy series. Once again Johana Gustawsson has tapped into my fascination into our gory and gruesome history, this time drawing on Jack the Ripper and oh my god did she deliver.
With complete skill we are treated to a story that takes us back to Victorian London when Jack the Ripper was rife whilst also giving us some truly horrific murders in the present. What we as readers must do is work out what the connection is between the two events or if the similarities are purely coincidental.
The book starts with the disappearance of actress Julianne Bell but then quickly becomes so much more when the mutilated body of a woman is found in Sweden. Emily Roy is called in on both cases but when similarities are found to a previously solved case that resulted in the death of Alexis Castells partner the two women find that they must work together to solve the new case whilst dealing with their own past and the possibility that the wrong person was convicted. Alongside Emily and Alexis are some of the team from Sweden that we met in Block 46 and a couple of new characters that add yet another dimension to the story. Detective Karla Hansen is determined to make sure that she is not overlooked on this case, in fact she is quite a driving force in it. Alienor Lindbergh is on temporary secondment but she has a very analytical mind partially thanks to her Asperger’s but it proves to be of great assistance to Emily as she builds up a profile of the killer.
As you travel back to Victorian times you see the impact Jack the Ripper has on the working women, torn between needing to earn a living and trying to stay safe as you follow the lives of one of the Rippers known victims and her friend Freda. It is Freda’s story that you follow during this thread of the book and as it passes through time you really get to see how these experiences shape her future and that of the people around her… and trust me it will both shock and surprise you
Although elements of this story are gruesome and unpleasant as you would imagine, they are in no way gratuitous and I found that I couldn’t put the book down. The way in which the past and present events were interwoven with each other had me turning pages without any effort as I followed the case to its very surprising conclusion. Once again Johana Gustawsson has produced a thrilling and compelling tale that will leave you wanting more with characters that you just cant help but connect with.
About the Author
Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in nineteen countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production. Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons. She drew on her own experience of fertility clinics and IVF to write Blood Song and is happy to speak and write pieces about this.
Books by Johana Gustawsson