I’ve been a fan of writing duo Nicci French ever since I stumbled across the deliciously dark Killing Me Softly in a Brighton thrift shop many years ago. And despite having read numerous classics in more recent years, it still remains one of my absolute favourite books, and one that, had I more time to read, I would turn to again and again.
And since first reading Killing Me Softly, I have worked my way through Nicci French’s remaining catalogue, most recently reading Blue Monday – a birthday present from my youngest sister Mariella which has been lurking on my bookshelf since February. The perfect opportunity arose after finishing Pride & Prejudice; I wanted a page turner, a book that I knew wouldn’t challenge me with its lexical density, and one who’s content would tie in perfectly with the recent gales the UK has been experiencing. Thus, with aching calves and a June storm battering against my window panes I settled down to begin Blue Monday.
While French’s previous novels have been stand-alones, Blue Monday is set to be the first in a series of eight with psychotherapist Frieda Klein at the centre of the plot. The writing pair have honed the craft of creating complex female characters and Klein is no different. An insomniac with commitment issues she is troubled to discover a client’s fantasies – a desire to have a red-headed boy – have a frightening resemblance to the disappearance of a local boy abducted from his school gates.
Having contacted the police, who are decidedly underwhelmed with her suspicions, Klein becomes involved with the investigation as she takes it upon herself to dig deeper into the complex family life of her client.
Maintaining suspense until the very end, and with an unexpected and clever twist as the plot reaches its climax, Blue Monday is another well crafted novel from Nicci French, and the perfect kind of book to batten down the hatches with.