I’m absolutely delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Keeper today. Keeper is the second novel in Johana Gustawsson’s Roy and Castells series, following on from Block 46 and I think that this second instalment is even better than the first.
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.
Following the highly acclaimed Block 46 and guaranteed to disturb and enthral, Keeper is a breathless thriller from the new queen of French Noir.
Like Block 46, Keeper has two timelines running through it. There’s the modern-day narrative in which Roy et al are investigating the disappearance of Julianne Bell whilst also looking into the gruesome discovery of a woman’s mutilated body in Sweden, as well as the historical story that kicks off in Whitechapel in 1888 featuring Jack the Ripper. The historical elements in Gustawsson’s novels are, I think, my favourite thing about them. I think that these historical cases add something extra to her novels, setting them apart from the usual crime procedurals. Additionally, the historical tales always tie in with the main narrative brilliantly, and give a background to the culprits before the reader even knows who they are.
I felt that this story focused more on Emily Roy than Alexis Castells at first, and it was brilliant to be back in her company. A behavioural profiler, she is extremely clever but doesn’t always play well with others, often not bothering to worry about social niceties and often comes across as being a little blunt. I think that she’s a fantastic character – she has the troubled past that one often finds in the genre, but hasn’t let that turn her into a maverick, and I like that her profession as a profiler again gives the novel something a little different to the usual harried police detectives that feature heavily in the genre.
As I mentioned, Alexis’s role isn’t as immediately apparent in Keeper, although the case has a very personal element for Alexis, and she soon proves her worth through her own investigations as she comes at the case from a different angle. Alexis is another character that I really like, and I have to say that her mother is an absolute star! I’ll let you find out more about her when you read it, however. 😉
I’ve deliberately not gone into the plot in any detail, as I really think that the above synopsis tells you as much as you need to know going into the novel but like Block 46, this is a wonderfully dark and complex novel that will keep you guessing right to the end. Highly recommended.
Keeper was published in paperback on 28 April by Orenda Books, and is also available as an eBook. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the review copy, and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour: