Up until this time the novels of Nicci French (Nicci Gerard and Sean French) have all been stand-alone novels. Blue Monday breaks this mould and is the first novel in a planned 8 book series featuring the psychoanalyst Frieda Klein.
The book begins 22 years in the past when 5 year old Joanna Vine goes missing on her way home from school. She is never found.
We then skip to the present. 5 year old Matthew Faraday has gone missing from his school.
Frieda Klein takes on a new patient, Alan Dekker. Along with other problems, Alan has been having dreams that seem to relate to the disappearance of Matthew Faraday. Frieda’s analysis of Alan also draws a tenuous link to Joanna Vine’s disappearance 22 years earlier. Frieda breaks client confidentiality to report her fears to the police (Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson). Unhappy with the speed of the police response to her information, and fearing for Matthew’s life, Frieda begins her own investigation in the hope of finding Matthew before it is too late.
From here, the investigation by both Frieda and Karlsson takes some bizarre twists (some more believable than others). One of the scenes near the end (involving Dean Reeve) is completely creepy.
There was quite a large caste of characters in this book and some of them were not all that well developed. Presumably, they were introduced to be dealt with further in later books in the series. The relationship between Frieda Klein and Malcolm Karlsson looks like it will develop further. There were also significant appearances from Frieda’s sister-in-law and her teenage daughter, Frieda’s mentor, and a Polish builder.
Although the book was an exciting thriller, I feel that it lacked some of the punch that I am used to seeing in a Nicci French novel. I suppose this is the difference between a stand-alone and a series book. With this book there were things that didn’t seem to be fully dealt with. I am looking forward to continuing with the series to find out where the characters from this book are heading.
Book Published 2011