Sunday, 11 April 2021

Block 46

Finished April 4 
Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson, translated from the French by Maxim Jakubowski

This is the first book I've read by this author. It is also the first book in a series featuring profiler Emily Roy and true crime writer Alexis Castells. Emily Roy is an interesting character. She was trained at Quantico and worked for the RCMP, but now works for Scotland Yard. She has a past that is hinted at here, but offers a lot for further exploration in later books. She can be brusque and even harsh, but she knows how to use diplomacy and charm in certain situations. 
Alexis Castells, a French woman now living in England, whose own partner was killed by a serial killer, is friends with Linnea, a Swedish jewelry artist now living in England, who is found murdered near the beginning of this book. She has encountered Emily before when she was researching one of her books, and due to these two links, she gets drawn further into this case than is normal for someone outside of the police or supporting organizations.
The story moves back and forth between London and the west coast of Sweden, but the majority of the action is in Sweden. As the story begins, Linnea is supposed to be having her debut as the new jewelry artist for a major jeweller, but she does not show up. A couple of times a year, Linnea went on her own back to Sweden, spending time by herself and seeing friends there. That is where she has been, and was supposed to be flying in from. Shortly after being reported missing in England, her body is found in Sweden, strangely mutilated and in an outdoor hidden area near her home there.
The mutilation links her death to the bodies of two boys that have been recently found in England, buried in a public park. That is how Scotland Yard and Emily get brought into the case. Alexis accompanies Linnea's relatively new husband and her new boss to Sweden, and because she is a capable woman, takes on the task of inventorying Linnea's house there while they go back to England. Spending time with Emily, she soon gets seconded as another set of eyes and mind to Emily's research on the case. 
There is a second storyline here as well, one from World War II. A German medical student, is interned in Buchenwald where he is first working as a laborer and then gets seconded to a medical experimentation unit. We see him during this time and into his life after the war, when he moves to the coast of Sweden near where Linnea's body was found. We know there is a link, but we only gradually learn what that link is, and why Linnea was killed. 
I liked both Emily and Alexis and the way they interacted with each other. I liked the Canadian link here through Emily as well. There are also a lot of interesting secondary characters: Linnea's childhood friend who lives nearby her home in Sweden and some of the Swedish police. 

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