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.
Many thanks to Johana Gustawsson, the publisher Orenda Books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC of Keeper in return for an honest review.
Keeper is the stunning, clever and highly entertaining follow on from Block 46, which once again reunites Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells. We are swept from the nightmarish world of 1888 Whitechapel which is gripped by the shocking events of Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror, to London and Sweden in 2015 and a new series of horrifying murders. What links the two time periods? All the victims are women! But is this all that connects them?
To find out the writer weaves a tale that is in equal parts horrifying and fascinating. It is a cliché to say a book is impossible to put down, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true and in the case of Keeper it is. I was gripped body and soul by events as they unfolded, scared to turn the page and face the horror that turns both Roy and Castells worlds upside down, but compelled to do so by a desire to discover the reasons behind the murders. I recently read that thrillers are characterized by the moods they bring out within the reader, heightening feelings such as excitement and that they should enduce levels of anxiety that can be almost too much to bear. Well Johana Gustawsson achieves this aim and ramps it up to a level that left me wondering if the tightness in my chest was ever going to ease.
Given that this is a follow on from Block 46, I was delighted to see character growth for both of the main characters. As the story progresses we learn more about both Roy and Castells and events that have shaped them. They become stronger as the story progresses and yet open to potential growth in future novels. Both are fascinating characters that I warmed to in the first novel and that continued in Keeper, my emotional attachment to them strengthened by the vulnerability Gustawsson imbues them with.
From the very first page the horror of the killings in both the past and the present enveloped me, by the end the horror still had me gripped and I began to think the writer couldn’t possibly shock me anymore. But, I didn’t see the twists and turns coming and was kept on the edge of my seat throughout. Not only did Gustawsson force me to rethink all I thought about the crimes and those that committed them, but also who is good and bad. The ‘villain’ is utterly immoral and thoroughly evil, but always fascinating.
I can’t wait for the next thrilling segment in the Roy and Castells story, penned by an exciting and very talented writer.
About the author
Born in 1978 in Marseille, France, and a graduate of Political Sciences, Johana Gustawsson was a journalist for television and French press. She now lives in London, England.