Monday, May 6, 2013

Blue Monday by Nicci French

Tweet:  A psychoanalyst who breaks her own rules.  A detective haunted by an unsolved crime.  An excellent, complex British mystery. 

     Dr. Frieda Klein, a London psychoanalyst, lives an ordered and private life.  She keeps her practice small so she can properly absorb and think about her patient's issues.  She follows therapy protocols exactly, meeting her patients only in her office, a designated "safe" space, and never lets them enter her own protected space.  As Frieda explains, "[y]ou can't change your patient's life.  You just have to change the patient's attitude toward life."  But when a new patient reveals a detailed fantasy that echos a child kidnapping case in the news, Frieda feels compelled to act and bring her concerns to Detective Malcolm Karlsson.  Together they try to unwind a complex psychological puzzle with roots more than twenty years old.

    As a protagonist, Frieda Klein is ascerbic and complicated and quietly brilliant.  Author Nicci French deftly avoids gimmicky plot twists, instead maintaining taut suspense throughout the novel that keeps one fascinated until the end.  French (the pseudonym of writing partners Nicci Gerrard and Sean French), has created multi-layered and complex characters that I look forward to seeing again.  Fortunately, I won't have to wait:  the next Frieda Klein novel, Tuesday's Gone, is in bookstores now.



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