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…
About this time last year, I was introduced to Johana Gustawsson’s wonderful writing (and Maxim Jakubowski’s seamless translation from French into English) through Block 46 which was one of my top reads of 2017. Suffice to say, I was hughly excited about the release of Keeper!
Keeper is the second book in the Roy and Castell’s series however both books can be easily read as standalone stories. For me, what really stood out about Block 46 was its dual timelines between the fictional modern-day investigation along the factual back drop of the concentration camps during the Holocaust. Initially, I wasn’t sure of the relevance between the two however the narrative came together into a very clever storyline. I am pleased to say that Keeper uses the same formula. This time, the factual backdrop starts in Whitechapel, London in 1888 during the time of Jack the Ripper. What is absolutely brilliant within this book is how the narrative style changes between 2015 and 1888/early 1900’s – you actually feel like you are transported in time with the sentence structures and phrases that you don’t hear so much these days. It was always clear reading the book which timeframe you were in.
In Keeper true-crime writer and Canadian profiler find themselves once again working together following the kidnap of an actress outside of her home early one morning – seemingly disappeared into thin air. As if that’s not even to be contending with, there are also murders in Sweden which have all the hallmarks of a previous serial killer however he’s locked up in Broadmoor. Did they get the wrong man or is there a very clever and twisted copy cat killer in action? I enjoy that fact that Roy and Castells are not in the police force which gives this crime thriller an interesting edge.
At the start there are a few characters to get used to but soon the reader is drawn into the investigation and starts to piece together the relationships. I found that this book initially started as a slow burn (not in a bad way, I was immersed in the plot from the start!) but soon the pace is ramped up and doesn’t let go – I was desperate to find out who the killer was and what Jack the Ripper had to do with the modern-day events.
Gustawsson has again created a very plausible storyline which is dark and twisted – a brilliantly complex plot that has twists and turns throughout. It’s no mean feat to manage dual timelines as well as two locations for the modern-day investigation! Also, I imagine that the differing voices throughout the story was challenging to Maxim Jakubowski however he has once again translated it beautifully, there was no point during the book that I noticed that it wasn’t written in English – translators continue to amaze me with their magic!
A fantastic read – a massive 5 stars from me and highly recommended. Also, I know it’s only April, but this is going to be a top read for 2018 – LOVED it! Roll on book three.
Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. Her debut, Block 46, was an award-winning, international bestseller, with Keeper following suit. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.