Sent To Me By Orenda Books In Exchange For An Honest Review
28.04.2018 / Orenda Books / Noir-Thriller / Paperback / 300pp / 978-1912374052
Target Audience: Readers who love intricate plot lines told from many perspectives. Gritty and dark themes that will unsettle quite a few readers but a bold story that will impress just as much.
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.
Johana Gustawsson’s Keeper is an elaborate, serpentine and unsettling historical crime thriller that belongs on any reader’s bookshelf (as long as you possess a strong stomach). I observed the love for Block 46 from afar as I didn’t get a chance to read it so when Keeper came along I knew I had to give it a go. I was in absolute awe of Johana Gustawsson as I have never known an author who has met my expectations so perfectly until now.
Keeper is the literary equivalent to a jigsaw puzzle. Each narrative is another minute piece on the board. All of the plot lines revealing another snippet of a monstrous and unforgettable tale forged over time with nefarious concequences. A story that spans over a century, two countries and countless lives. Gustawsson’s impressive use of Jack The Ripper’s story to launch a narrative that spans over 120 years fascinated me no end. I mostly appreciated JG’s choice to devulge the tale from a large number of quickfire perspectives though I will say that it does feel slightly jumbled up at times. The writing was well orchastrated and each of the core protangonists got enough time but I felt that some of the smaller and more intriguing elements to JG’s writing may have got lost in the mix. Though JG’s execution of the last act more than made up for this (and the fact I can go back and re-read Keeper in the future). There are many fantastic twists within but the main event lies at the very end and it was impressive end to the bold narrative.
I liked the cast of characters present within Keeper especially Emily Roy and Aliénor Lindbergh (a smart intern with Asperger’s). They added no-nonsense charm to the chaotic narrative. I adore criminal profiling stories and JG has crafted a mighty one within Keeper. I also thought Alexis Castells’ story line was appropriate as it was laden with raw emotion and an impervious search for the truth that kept the momentum flowing even in the novels heavier sections. There are plenty of harsh tones and difficult themes explored such as cannibalism, sexual deviances, murder, betrayal and imprisonment but JG uses them all for maximum effect. Keeper is intense but it is an intriguing read that puts a reader’s intuition to the test. I can’t recommend Keeper enough and I am going to go back and read Block 46 in time for Johana Gustawsson’s next novel.
About Johana Gustawsson
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. Her debut, Block 46, became an international bestseller, with Keeper following suit. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.