Blue Monday: A Novel

Hardcover | November 27, 2013

byNicci French

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The stunning first book in a new series of psychological thrillers introducing an unforgettable London psychotherapist

Frieda Klein is a solitary, incisive psychotherapist who spends her sleepless nights walking along the ancient rivers that have been forced underground in modern London. She believes that the world is a messy, uncontrollable place, but what we can control is what is inside our heads. This attitude is reflected in her own life, which is an austere one of refuge, personal integrity, and order.

The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when his face is splashed over the newspapers, Frieda cannot ignore the coincidence: one of her patients has been having dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A red-haired child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew. She finds herself in the center of the investigation, serving as the reluctant sidekick of the chief inspector.

Drawing readers into a haunting world in which the terrors of the mind have spilled over into real life, Blue Monday introduces a compelling protagonist and a chilling mystery that will appeal to readers of dark crime fiction and fans of In Treatment and The Killing.

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From the Publisher

The stunning first book in a new series of psychological thrillers introducing an unforgettable London psychotherapistFrieda Klein is a solitary, incisive psychotherapist who spends her sleepless nights walking along the ancient rivers that have been forced underground in modern London. She believes that the world is a messy, unco...

Nicci French is the pseudonym for the internationally bestselling writing partnership of suspense writers Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. They are married and live in Suffolk and London, England.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.35 × 6.34 × 1.16 inPublished:November 27, 2013Publisher:Pamela Dorman BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0670023361

ISBN - 13:9780670023363

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Customer Reviews of Blue Monday: A Novel


Rated 3 out of 5 by from For a Monday, it wasn't that bad Blue Monday, another bargain table find, is the first in a new series of I'm guessing 7 books (or maybe 5 if they take the weekend off) by husband/wife writing duo Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. The opening chapter, set in the past, sucked me in with its emotional, gut-wrenching abduction of a 5 year old girl, told from the perspective of the girl's 9 year old sister. Flash forward in time, twenty-two years later and, unfortunately, for the first half of the book, the story becomes a jumbled collection of vignettes addressing different characters and events that you can only hope will eventually all connect and make sense, which they do, but not without some serious suspension of disbelief. The story's main character is Dr Frieda Klein, a psychoanalyst who is drawn into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a young boy when a client tells her he's having dreams that seem to suggest he has some involvement. Klein feels she has no choice but to take her suspicions to the police, specifically the beleaguered Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson. Of course Karlsson is sceptical and dismisses Klein's concerns without a second thought until a parting comment by Klein has Karlsson linking this current abduction with the unsolved case from 22 years ago. This book was a challenge. After the promising start, I quickly found myself wondering what happened to the story as the narrative jumped back and forth, never really connecting elements. Several supporting characters are introduced and while colourful, they don't really add anything to the main story except clutter (or annoyance in the case of her teenage niece). It's almost like the writers figured they had to introduce all the characters that are part of Klein's life at once just to get it over with and yet they barely divulge anything about Klein herself. We just gets bits and pieces of Klein's backstory but never any explanations of what makes her tick. Her insomnia, her penchant for late, late night walks through London (putting herself at risk judging by some of the neighbourhoods she travels), her estrangement from her family...Klein seems to have a lot going on (an in cliched fashion, the therapist seems in need of therapy?), we just don't get to know anything about it. The second part of the book becomes a bit more cohesive, but that's when a healthy dose of suspended belief must come into play. As Klein works to unravel the mystery and hopefully find the missing boy, the story gets more and more predictable. Even the big surprise ending wasn't a surprise. The only surprise, and disappointment, is that neither Klein or DCI Karlsson get it. There are already books for the next two days of the week and Thursday is due out later this year. I'd give this series another go....but I'll wait for the hardcover to hit the bargain table. I'm sitting on the fence about the "would you recommend this product to a friend" Based on my review, I guess my answer would be 'yes, but....'
Date published: 2014-05-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great psychological thriller, and I can't wait for the next in the series! I received this audiobook for review from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. The prologue sets out the circumstances surrounding the abduction of 5 year-old Joanna Vine, who is never found. Joanna's parents split up, and her mom remarries and seems to have moved on with her life. Her dad, on the other hand, cannot move on and is so wrapped up in his grief that he still waits every day for news that Joanna's body has been found. Joanna's sister, Rose, who was supposed to be watching Joanna at the time of her disappearance (and was then only 9 years old) blames herself and is riddled with guilt. Frieda Klein is a psychologist living in London, England. Psychology has always intrigued me and, if I was ever to go into the medical field, psychology would be my area of study. One of Frieda's patients has been having dreams about a red-haired boy with freckles. When he shows Frieda a childhood picture of himself, she thinks that he is just seeing himself as a childhood boy in his dreams. However, when five year-old Matthew Farraday goes missing, Freida cannot forget her patient's dream about a red-haired, freckled boy...just like Matthew. He also revealed that he felt a similar obsession for a young girl when he was in his early 20s, and then it just went away. Now, these intense feelings have returned and a young boy has gone missing. Are the two abductions related, and is her patient involved? What I loved most about this book is how flawed all of the characters are. Frieda is a woman who is as in need of psychological help as her patients! One of my favourite characters is Josef, a Ukrainian carpenter who falls through the ceiling of Freida's office while doing repairs on the floor above. Her friendship with Josef was endearing, and their relationship is a bit like the patient counselling the shrink! He was my favourite character, by far, and I hope he will continue to play a role in the series. I love when authors throw twists into the story, and French did not disappoint! This is a great psychological thriller, and the pace moves rather quickly. French creates a sense of urgency and anticipation, which enveloped me as I listened to the story. As a mom, I found the plot pretty unsettling. Not all loose ends are tied up at the conclusion, and I am eager to see what happens in the next one in the series! New-to-me narrator Beth Chalmers did a wonderful job bringing the characters to life, and she adjusted the timbre of her voice to make each one distinct. I do not know whether her British accent is genuine or not, but she certainly is convincing! The voice she used to portray Matthew Farraday is creepy and haunting. I will definitely look for other books narrated by her. MY RATING: 4 stars!! It was really good, and you should add it to your TBR list! Thanks to Penguin Audio for the opportunity to review this book!
Date published: 2012-04-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ingenious plot 3.5/5 Blue Monday marks the start of a new series from bestselling husband and wife team Nicci French. Frieda Klein is a psychotherapist in London, England. She is a private person, who keeps her own emotions and life tightly in check. One of her latest patients has been having dreams . Dreams where he 'obtains' a son - a red haired little boy that he describes in great detail. "She thought of all the secrets she had been told over the years, all those illicit thoughts, desires, fears that people gave to her for safe keeping. ...she had always carried them with a sense of privilege, that people allowed her to see their fears, allowed her to be their light." But when little red headed Matthew Farraday goes missing and the details are eerily like her patient described, Frieda feels she has no choice but to go to the police with her concerns. Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Karlsson is the other protagonist in this series. He's a bit all over the map, but is a likable character who will grow into his role I believe. I found the opening of this book to be a bit slow. Indeed, I started it, read about 50 pages and put it down. It was only on picking it up a second time, that it really got good for me. I did found it hard to believe that Josef, a carpenter who falls through Frieda's office ceiling becomes such an important and trusted confidante in her life. On the other hand, it does speak volumes about her personal life. Other characters, such as her niece Chloe, don't overly add to the story, but seem to have been to lay the background for further books. French has crafted an excellent plot. I don't want to give any of it away, but it truly was unique. The chapters written from Matthew's point of view in captivity were, as to be expected, hard to read. I always like being able to get in on the ground floor and read the first novel in a new series. I think this will be an interesting series, focusing on more of the psychological aspects of the crimes and characters versus a 'gritty' crime series. Now that the stage has been set and the players introduced, I'm sure further books will be a bit 'smoother' and we'll get to know Frieda and Malcolm a little better.
Date published: 2012-03-27

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Editorial Reviews

“Fast-paced and spooky…it leaves readers with the promise of intriguing tales to come.”—People (****)“A neat puzzle with a satisfying resolution and a terrific twist at the end.”—The New York Times Book Review “A superb psychological thriller…With its brooding atmosphere, sustained suspense, last-minute plot twist, and memorable cast of characters, this series debut will leave readers eager to discover what color Tuesday will be.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review“With its smart plot, crisp prose, and a stunning final twist, this is psychological suspense at its best. Absolutely riveting.”—Booklist, starred review“This is psychological suspense done right. The authors pace themselves and build the tension slowly while carefully developing each of the players. For fans of Tana French’s and Lisa Gardner’s moody, dark, twisty thrillers.”—Library Journal“A searing psychological thriller in the rich vein of Kate Atkinson and Laura Lippman, Blue Monday is powerful and gripping—a page-turner with heart and soul.  Psychotherapist Frieda Klein is an enormously appealing new series hero.”—Joseph Finder, bestselling author of Buried Secrets “Unrelenting …unnerving…unforgettable. Psychological dynamite.”—Alan Bradley, bestselling author of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie“Nicci French creates a haunting and complex psychological puzzle about memory and heredity, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the very end. This gripping thriller certainly bodes well for the future of the series and I look forward to reading more about unlikely heroine Frieda Klein.”—Camilla Läckberg, bestselling author of The Ice Princess“A fabulous, unsettling, and riveting look at motives and memory and relationships. And what drives people to do the unthinkable.”—Louise Penny, bestselling author of A Trick of the Light“Nicci French is undeniably at the top of British psychological suspense writing.”—The Observer (UK)“Complex and flawed, Frieda Klein is a refreshingly human protagonist, an intriguing debut for a truly unique character.”—Tami Hoag, bestselling author of Down the Darkest Road