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==Synopsis of the book:==
Back in 1987 a five year old girl called Joanna disappears on her way home from School. Her elder sister Rosie lost her when she went into the local Sweetshop. Despite a long and detailed investigation the little girl was never found. Leaving her family with a massive hole in it and not ever knowing if Joanna was simply snatched or murdered. This had a particular effect on Rosie who always blamed herself for losing her sister, despite being told repeatedly it was not her fault.
Now over twenty years later in the same part of London another five year old child goes missing on his way home from school. Matthew Faraday's mother was held up and when she arrives at the school he had vanished. After a couple of days and no decent leads the Police start to wonder if this case could somehow be linked with the earlier disappearance.
Meanwhile Psychotherapist Frieda Klein is working with one of her new clients Alan Dekker. She is concerned with some of the things he is teller her. As he describes to her a dream he keeps having about abducting a small boy who is the spitting image of this missing boy. This worries her but she thinks he could just got this information from the papers coverage of the missing boy. Until he advises her he had terrible dreams about abduction over twenty years ago similar to these. Frieda doesn't understand this but feels she must tell the Police so that they can investigate it.
==My thoughts on the novel:==
I would describe myself as an experienced reader of the stories written by the author Nicci French, but for me this was one of there most disappointing stories. The reason I say this is because they usually write such good, twisting and very clever mysteries this in comparison in my opinion was poor. I think part of the problem was my high expectations of this author and the two very complimentary terms used by two National papers to describe the book namely 'Magnificent and Addictive'.
Nicci French is the husband and wife writing duo of Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. They have enjoyed great success with a number of best selling thrillers. So far this partnership have written 13 novels , with this novel being the first in the Dr Klein series and was first published in 2011. There books are often popular with readers who like authors such as Patricia Cornwell or Lee Child. However for me as a rule these tend to be better than either of these as they are very deep well thought out stories that really make the reader think about a solution to them.
When I heard there was a new Nicci French book, I knew I had to read it at some stage the only thing I had to do was wait until I had earnt enough points for another Amazon voucher. When I did I purchased this book simply on these writers reputation and how much I had enjoyed their previous work. In hindsight maybe this was a mistake but having read eight stories from them before I was confident this would be good again.
The title sounded interesting as I'm sure we all often feel like we are having a 'Blue Monday'. However having read this story I do not think this title is really appropriate for it. As it had very little if anything to do with it. Maybe something simple like 'Missing' would in my opinion have been a better one.
So I flipped the book over to find out what it was all about. I liked the concept of this missing child and Psycho Frieda Klein getting involved despite not having any wish or desire to do so. It certainly sounded interesting and despite being only two paragraphs long it had me looking forward to starting it. I think the subject matter of a missing child will always get readers involved in it because it is if not the worst then one of the worst things that can happen within any society and something every parent fears.
As soon as I started reading the story I was intrigued by it. It started with the journey in 1987 that Rosie and her little sister Joanna took. It was sadly too short and I found I wanted more depth in what happened to the family after she disappeared. For me it was all to rushed and before I knew it we were following the second little boy over twenty years later as he was about to disappear. For this there was more detailed information as it was the main reason why Dr Klein was to get involved. This all said I enjoyed the start to the story and expected an exciting and gripping read.
However I did not find this was as good as I expected. Despite the subject matter which is always intriguing, because I always want the child to be found and to discover how and why they were snatched. But what I found was the story while rich in detail and possibilities was slow and I found myself having to push to continue reading it. I am usually totally addicted to a Nicci French story but this time I found it in patches dull and hard going.
I kept expecting to find myself drawn completely into the story but it never really happened. I started to find some of the things that were happening within it unlikely and hard to believe. Maybe I was having a difficult few days but I did not feel the story was the usual quality and addictiveness this subject would usually inspire. On the positive side yes there were a few very good and unexpected twists but this did not make up for some of the blandness that preceded and accompanied it.
For me the answers to the mystery were all to obvious far to early in the story. This ruined some of the suspense within it and I would have liked to have a few more suspects, as felt a few of the answers were obvious. With a few more suspects I think the mystery would have been better and given the writers more possibilities to work with.
One such twist in the story was excellent. It was towards the very end and completely out of the blue. I will say no more than that and it almost changed my overall opinion of the story because it was so late it and because it just altered everything. It was in the concluding part of the story which was faster paced and quite enjoyable. It was the time when the writers sort to explain the truth and make it all seem possible. For me they didn't quite succeed here and I felt they rushed this as I had several questions that had not been answered that left me confused and unsatisfied.
One of the very good features about the story was the fabulous lead character Dr Frieda Klein. I liked her because as well as being excellently described and her thoughts and most of her actions being understandable. Although I still have a huge problem of her wondering the quiet London Streets in the early hours of the morning. I just thought an intelligent lady would not put herself in this kind of potentially dangerous situation. She was a very down to earth character that appealed to me plus because she has little Police experience when she was involved in the case she understandably made mistakes and this endeared her to me more. Plus I also liked the problems and issues she had in her personal life it at times provided a welcome distraction from the story.
While I thought she was a great character and one I look forward to reading about in the future. I did not think she was supported by other personalities in the story. Some I found had little purpose and added little to the story, maybe if there had been more detail about them it would have helped. I just thought I needed more descriptions and a greater understanding of some of the key ones within the story.
I think the story probably could have done to be a little longer. As I would have liked additional characters added and to have more details about the effects of Joanna's disappearance on her family. And while the story was successfully broken up by regular chapters, I felt I gained little but confusion when the writers sought to explain how Matthew was feeling during his capture and what was happening to him.
I am really in two minds whether I should recommend this or not, so I must be undecided. Yes the initial concept was good and a few of the twists within the story were excellent. Plus I thought Dr Klein was a wonderful lead character. But at the same time I quite often found the story dull and slow moving and at other times I found it hard to believe. I think in truth this is not as good as many of the other story written by these talented writers and perhaps we are all entitled to an off day.
Year first Published: 2011
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
© CPTDANIELS August 2012.
I became a big Nicci French fan after reading Land of the Living, which in my opinion is their best book.
A Sunday paper printed an extract and I rushed out to buy the book as I was so intrigued and gripped by the storyline I could not wait to find out what happened next.
I have bought and enjoyed every book since, with the exception of the last one Complicit , which I thought was rubbish.
So I was not sure whether I should buy Blue Monday, but my husband bought it for me as he also likes Nicci French. I think I would have bought it as one bad book is allowed when all the others have been so good.
Nicci French is the name used by husband and wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. The partnership works well as I personally can't tell who writes which part and apart from the last book I think they write well together.
I would describe their books as psychological thrillers that keep you guessing and in the case of Land of the Living make you want to read them nonstop until you finish. They are absolute masters in this genre. The books are aimed at adults you should be aware they contain violence sex swearing and can be quite graphic.
Blue Monday I understand is the first in a series of books that will feature Freida Klein a psychotherapist. Something of a departure for the writers who generally write stand alone novels.
This first instalment begins with the abduction of five year old Mathew Faraday which as you would expect is front page news and the police and his family are desperate to find him as quickly as possible.
As time ticks by the police know that their chances of finding Matthew alive are becoming slimmer.
Psychotherapist Frieda may be able to help as when one of her patients describes a dream featuring a child just like Matthew, Frieda is so concerned she reports this to the police As events unfold Frieda becomes more and more involved in identifying the abductor who took Mathew.
To find out whether she succeeds you will have to read the book.
I am not sure whether I can recommend this book as I was completely underwhelmed by the first few chapters and the jury is out on what I think about Frieda the psychotherapist.
It is difficult to say too much as I will give the plot away and spoil your enjoyment if you choose to read this.
I really struggle with books where I don't like or am indifferent to the main character and that is the problem with this book. Frieda is portrayed as a loner, an independent woman who when she can't sleep, walks the streets of London so she can think.
I just could not identify with her and as we the reader are only given snippets of information about her it is difficult to understand what drives her to do the things she does in the novel. She takes incredible risks and displays really poor judgement at times and that makes her character slightly unbelievable.
There is a love interest and a range of characters connected to Frieda are introduced that don't seem to add anything to the plot, other than demonstrate her single mindedness and perhaps that she does care about people.
The first few chapters left me cold and then all of a sudden the book picked up and I started to warm to it. Of course I wanted to know what happened to Matthew but at the beginning that was the only reason I carried on reading.
So the book picked up and it seemed like the partnership was back on track, throwing in twists, building up the tension and plenty of suspense and I started to really enjoy the book and could not put it down.
Unfortunately that didn't continue.
I guessed a couple of the major twists and then started to wonder whether Frieda was a little mad as she blundered about exposing herself and others to danger. At times I felt like you do in those films where people hear a noise and go look without a thought that there might be a lunatic about. I always shout at the TV - 'stay where you are'. Well Frieda has quite a few moments like that.
I think the reason this didn't work for me is that I needed to know a little more about Frieda , OK leave some things for the next books, but a little more background was required to understand why she acts the way she does. Plus some of the characters were not necessary and more could have been made of DCI Karlsson who desperately wanted to solve the case.
I really think they have left the details of some of the characters really sketchy simply because this is a first in a series. For me that dilutes the strength in their writing which has up to press been the characters, the victims and the perpetrators.
However my husband has since read this and totally disagrees with me. He thinks the couple are back on track and thoroughly enjoyed this and is looking forward to the next one - I don't think he guessed the twists!
This has quite a few reviews on Amazon and overall it is rated 4 stars , so it seems I am in the minority, but for me this isn't a patch on their earlier novels which I found really gripping.
Amazon have this in paperback for £4.19 and £3.99 on Kindle and £9.74 on Audio Download or buy a Used one for 1p + £2.80 postage.
In parts 5 star , but other parts only 2 Stars so just 3 stars from me.
If you have not read Nicci French before go for the earlier books as they are much better.
I thought thet the duo would not choose such an iconic title and not do it justice . However unlike the song I don't think this will become a classic.