Note: Spoilers for previous books in the series.
This is book seven in the detective/psychological thriller series featuring psychotherapist Dr. Frieda Klein, who is the occasional collaborator of London Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Karlsson. The authors (Nicci French is the pseudonym for the writing team of husband and wife Nicci Gerrard and Sean French) keep Frieda’s character rather opaque, but we have gotten to “know” her bit by bit as the series proceeds.
Still, Frieda doesn’t reveal much:
“When people got too close, she pushed them away. She talked to her patients about the power of speaking, of making words and narratives, but she kept silent, guarded her secret self.”
This installment begins immediately after the end of the previous book, Dark Saturday. A dead body has just been discovered under the floorboards of Frieda’s living room. The body is a “message” from serial killer Dean Reeve, who has been stalking Frieda. The murdered man was an ex-policeman Frieda hired to find Dean. Frieda reads the “message” as: “This is what you get if you look for me.”
The new Chief Inspector, Petra Burge, thinks it might be helpful for Frieda to hold a press conference and go public with her concerns about Dean Reeve. Three reporters were invited to represent the press, and Frieda gave them the background about her “relationship” with Dean Reeve.
The story then picks up six months later, when bad things start happening to those with whom Frieda is close. First her niece Chloë was abducted for a weekend. Then some of her friends are beaten and almost killed. The police understand now that Frieda and those in her life – her “real” family as she calls them – are targets, but they are still unwilling to listen to her ideas about who is behind this and how that person might be discovered. We learn rather early on that Dean is not the only bad guy in the picture; there is a copycat out there, who is in fact more of a danger than Dean – at least, for the moment. One question the police and Frieda need to ascertain is: who is the audience for this new person – Dean or Frieda, and what is the motive?
As usual, Frieda figures out who the culprit is long before the police do.
There is a tense, page-turning lead-up to the end, which includes a shocker, and ensures the series is not yet over, in spite of the fact that we have been all through “the week” already with titles.
Evaluation: The books are a bit repetitive and very little actually changes in Frieda’s life (aside from people she knows ending up dead), but the recurring characters are interesting and consistent. This thriller, like the previous ones, ends in a startling way, making sure followers of the series will want to see what happens next.
Published by William Morrow, 2018