Nicci French: Blue Monday (2011)

I have read a few novels by Nicci French in the past and always thought they were very entertaining. Not the height of the psychological thriller realm but nicely paced and interesting. All of their (Nicci French is the pseudonym of a married couple writing together) novels are stand-alone thrillers. When I read that they had written the first book in a new series I was very interested to read it.

Blue Monday introduces psychotherapist Frieda Klein and Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson. I suppose we will see both of them again in the next novel but Frieda Klein is the more important character of the two.

One of the problems I have with a lot of the mainstream thrillers and crime novels is what I call “dodgy psychology”. You could also call it pseudo-psychology. This type of psychological explanation was the reason why I did not like Nesbø’s The Snowman. With Blue Monday we are on the same terrain but, funny enough, I liked it anyway. This is as much a thriller as a novel about London. The descriptions of the city are very well done. Another reason why I didn’t mind reading the book was that Frieda Klein is an appealing character. At the beginning of the novel she is just breaking up with someone because he will move to the States and she doesn’t want to follow him. She is deeply rooted in London and in her little house that feels like a den to her. Frieda  is a solitary person and likes to spend a lot of time on her own. Sometimes, plagued by insomnia, she will roam the silent streets of the big city at night. I liked these parts. She used to work in a clininc but has now her own practice.

A little boy is abducted in a way that reminds Detective Karlsson of another abduction twenty years ago. At the same time a man is seeing Frieda because he is suffering of panic attacks and nightmares. The nightmares circle around a little boy whose description reminds Frieda of the one who has been abducted. Frieda cannot put her finger on it but she has a feeling that there is a connection. She reports what she has found out to the police who do not belive her in the beginning.

I’m not going to write anything more about the story, the reader knows soon enough in what direction it goes (another weakness of the book, by the way). Frieda and Karlsson will work very closely together from then on. If you want to find out who abducted the little boy and whether they will find him alive, you will have to read the book.

As I said, despite it’s flaws I found Blue Monday readable because I liked Frieda and the descriptions of London. I’m often not interested in the mystery or the solution to it and enjoy all sorts of other aspects in crime novels and thrillers but if you are someone who loves a mystery, stay away from this book. The solution is very lame, to say the least, and the explanations are far from convincing. The end however is surprising.

This was my fourth and last book contribution to  Carl’s R.I.P. VI challenge. I’m still joining the group read and have planned on doing a post for Peril on the Screen. If you want to visit the review site, you can find it here.