Tuesday, 27 June 2017

BLOCK 46 by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks

4.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Amazon.com
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: I'd read several positive reviews for it on book blogs, but it was the one on Swirl and Thread that made me take the plunge!

I'm not usually one for police procedurals as I get bored with the endless conversations discussing the ins and outs of the case, but this attracted me because of the Scandinavian setting and the connection to Buchenwald concentration camp in WW2.

In Sweden, high-flying jewellery designer LinnĂ©a Blix is found gruesomely and artfully murdered; it is clear that her killer was intent on her being discovered.  Her friend, crime writer Alexis, becomes involved in the investigation, much of which is led by forensic profiler Emily Roy.  The murder shows marked similarities to recent murders of young boys in London. 

Alongside the unravelling investigation runs the story of Erich Ebner, a German medical student interred in Buchenwald, and his relationship with a Nazi doctor occupied with medical experimentation.  Gradually, the two threads converge.

I was most pleased to discover that the ins and outs and whys and wherefores of the case discussion actually held my attention—a round of applause to the author.  One particular part of 'the reveal' had me wanting to go back to the beginning and see all the clues I'd missed; I didn't guess the outcome at all!  A side element I liked was the incidental information about Scandinavia, in general.  I didn't find any of the characters particularly vivid (Emily was the one who 'spoke' to me the most), and I found it hard to remember which cop was which (there are a lot of them), but it kind of didn't matter, because the plot itself, the neat structure, the building of suspense and the interspersing of story threads totally carried this novel.

It's a bit on the grisly side in parts, but given the subject matter it could hardly be anything but, and I didn't feel, at any time, that this was just sensationalism.  My only complaint was that I found the explanations of the killers' motivations a little vague; I was never exactly clear what need was being fulfilled or what the work of the Nazi doctor actually was, other than general sadism and psychopathery.  But that might just be me.  I was absorbed by the book all the way through, looked forward to getting back to it, and would definitely recommend it, whether you're a fan of this genre or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment