Blue Monday - Nicci French
Reading Challenge Category: A book with two or more authors
Monday: five-year-old Matthew Faraday is abducted. His face is splashed across newspaper front pages. His parents and the police are desperate. Can anyone help find their little boy before it is too late? Psychotherapist Frieda Klein just might know something. One of her patients describes dreams of seizing a boy who is the spitting image of Matthew. Convinced at first the police will dismiss her fears out of hand, Frieda reluctantly finds herself drawn into the heart of the case. A previous abduction, from twenty years ago, suggests a new lead - one that only Frieda, an expert on the minds of disturbed individuals, can uncover. Struggling to make sense of this terrifying investigation, Frieda will face her darkest fears in the hunt for a clever and brutal killer . . .
So, I’m afraid I didn’t like this book at all. I decided to ‘read’ it as an audiobook, and I think this both helped and hindered my progress and enjoyment. It is really slow going and took ages to really get into the heart of the story. The prologue was really enrapturing and gripping but then as soon as we jump ahead 22 years it goes downhill and fast. If I had have been properly reading the book, I would have given up on it a few chapters in. The narrator, however, made the story slightly interesting and exciting and less painful. We didn’t seem to be getting anywhere fast; conversations were going around and around and were often repeated. For example, the hole in her ceiling. She had the same conversation goodness knows how many times with Josef about it and then we don’t even find out if it got sorted. Scenes jump from one person to the other, and I was often left wondering where and who we were with. I’m not sure if these are clearly marked in the book, but other than a brief pause in speaking in the audiobook, it was hard to keep up. The narrator did do a fantastic job of different voices for people when they were talking, though, which helped when there was back and forth dialogue. You could clearly distinguish between the speakers due to the voices she was doing. There was a lot of ‘dead’ storylines; they just seemed unimportant and irrelevant to the story. We had what was happening with Rueben, the love interest with Jack, the break-up with Sandy. We were integrated into Frieda’s life, but none of these side stories added anything to the main story. It had too many insignificant peripheral details that weren’t pertinent to the story. It was more of a contemporary fiction book about Frieda Klein than a crime novel. I understand that this was the first in the series and we needed to be introduced into her life, but I felt that this was carried out as a detriment to the kidnapping and the reason I chose the book in the first place. Frieda herself wasn’t that interesting a character; she was very uppity and aloof. I’m not sure if this was just the voice by the narrator making her seem like this or whether I would have thought it had I read the book the conventional way. I think the best character was Olivia, who we didn’t see that much, but she had a stand out personality, unlike her daughter, who was a spoilt teenage brat. The ending wasn’t really much better than the rest of the story, although I did feel like it picked up the pace a little. However, the conclusions that were achieved were based on guesses and assumptions. Nothing was done by process of elimination. I felt myself whiplashed with what was happening. The twists were glaring, and I saw them coming a mile off. However, if someone is reading the book and doesn’t see the obvious, then they would be a bit shocking. The ending was dragged out, and I did find myself drifting off in places, this is where the audiobook became a hinderance as the story just wasn’t interesting enough to keep my attention. So, overall, not a good book. I am only giving it two stars instead of one because I thought that Beth Chalmers did a great job of narrating such a boring and terrible book.
Listen to it on audiobook: