“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.”
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to damppebbles today and to my stop on the Keeper blog tour which I share with the wonderful The Book Review Cafe. Keeper is the second book in the Roy & Castells series written by Johana Gustawsson and is published in paperback by Orenda Books later this month (nothing to stop you from grabbing a copy of the eBook now though!).
I read the first book in the series, Block 46 last year. I really liked it, many others absolutely loved it and it made regular appearances on the ‘top books of 2017’ lists. Rightly so. Knowing this added to the pre-read build up for me. I was excited, expectant and a little apprehensive.
For those new to Gustawsson’s books, they are set in the present day (if you can call 2015 present!) but with a historical twist to them. The story’s tentacles reach back in time to real-life crimes. The reader gets to see how the evil of the past affects and manipulates the evil of the present. It’s a highly original concept, one that I haven’t found elsewhere and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I bow down to those that are able to write convincing fiction, but I grovel on the floor before those that include a fair amount of accurate historical fact (I assume it’s accurate by the way, I am certainly no historian!). In Block 46 we had the despicable and abhorrent treatment prisoners of war were subjected to by the detestable Nazi’s. In Keeper, we are plunged into the world of the infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Now I’m no Ripperologist but Jack the Ripper has always fascinated me. I’ve read a few books on the subject, some fact and some fiction. As far as the fictional ones go, this is by far the best.
I adored this book. Plain and simple. If Keeper doesn’t make it to my top three books of the year then there is something seriously wrong with me. Regular visitors to the blog will be fully aware that I like my crime thrillers a little more on the dark side. Keeper is one heck of a dark read. Picture the scene, there I was merrily reading away thinking to myself, ‘yup, it’s another good one – probably four stars at the moment but we’ll see how things go’. Then all of a sudden Gustawsson stepped things up a notch (or two). My jaw hit the table and I was utterly smitten with the author’s story. One of those, ‘WOAH’ moments that I absolutely live for.
Keeper will take you places you never expected. It’s exactly the kind of novel I want to read and it’s going to stay with me for a very, very long time. My love for Emily Roy has grown. She’s such a likeable oddball character. She does have competition for my affections though as I also really liked intern, Aliénor Lindbergh. Such an interesting character and I hope we see more of her in the future. The dynamic between the two characters really worked for me.
I also love the international flavour of Gustawsson’s books. The reader gets taken on a whirlwind journey from London to Falkenberg in Sweden, and back again. The characters also bring a welcome international flair to proceedings. For example, at one point Alexis Castells is having a dreaded ‘meet the parents’ moment (her parents are meeting her partner). They don’t all speak the same language so some are conversing in English, others in Swedish, her parents are chatting in French and there’s a bit of Spanish thrown in for good measure too. One of my favourite scenes in the book.
Would I recommend this book? Most definitely. Strong characters, astonishing twists and really quite perfect. There’s not a single thing I can think of that I didn’t like, and that’s saying something! Totally gratifying, deliciously dark and WHAT a thrill-ride. Yeah, I loved this one. You really should read Keeper.
Five out of five stars.
I chose to read and review an eARC of Keeper. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Keeper by Johana Gustawsson (trans. Maxim Jakubowski) was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 28th April 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please be aware the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
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. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.