Keeper – Johana Gustawsson (Roy and Castells #2)


Keeper was published on 15 February 2018 by Orenda Books and is available to buy here

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.

Previously in the series

Block 46 – Johana Gustawsson (book one)

My thoughts

One of my unexpected favourite reads from 2017 was Block 46. Johana Gustawsson does French noir to perfection, blended with a gorgeous Scandinavian flavour and a hint of horror. Keeper is the follow up to the dazzling Block 46; featuring duo, Emily Roy and Alexis Castells.

Johana Gustawsson gives us something to sink our teeth into. She delves into our inner most nightmares. One of our most illicit taboos. We get to feel the horror. We get to examine our own primal fear. This is a delicious slice of hell.

Once again, we get settings in both Sweden and the UK. The timeline also flits between the past and the present, as we follow the action and build up our understanding. Roy and Castells look into what appears to be on the surface, a copycat killer. Richard Hemfield is safely locked away in Broadmoor, for the brutal slaying of multiple women in Tower Hamlets, London. He murdered Castells’ partner at his arrest. This is traumatic for her, as Alexis has started to move forwards with her life. Someone with this unique killing signature is at work in both Sweden and the UK, in the present day. Women are being butchered. At the same time, a high profile actress has gone missing from her London address. Is there a copycat killer? Or do we have something far more raw and sinister for Roy and Castells to uncover?

I really had fun with Keeper. This is shaping up to be an excellent and quality series. Roy and Castells are forced to face some explicit crime scenes and a rather chilling killer at Broadmoor. No one does this better than Gustawsson. She effortlessly gives us the chills. We get a sense of how evil can be cultivated and nourished.

Dark, very dark. Nightmarish. Fabulous. It will be interesting to see where Gustawsson takes Roy and Castells next.





About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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