Winner of Balai de la Découverte 2016 and Nouvelle Plume d’Argent 2016
Award-winning debut French Noir thriller, first in the Roy & Castells series. A true-crime writer and a profiler join forces in the hunt for a serial killer.
Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina.
Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s.
Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again.
Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?
Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French truecrime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.
Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.
- Paperback: 300 pages
- Publisher: Orenda (15 May 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1910633704
- ISBN-13: 978-1910633700
When I started out reading I was more than committed (come on, the cover has a knife and a concentration camp on it I had to read it!) but I was a bit baffled, to begin with, then again I spent quite a bit of time wondering had the book been set in France prior to translation so that may have been the cause. I was finding it hard to keep up with the names of people but I stuck with it.
Here we have a story set in two time periods, one starting during WW2 and the other 2014 and from time to time the unknown antagonist speaks. Well, I don’t know what it was but when I reached the first appearance of the antagonist and was reading what he said I realised how I was in love and was hoping that this would continue….I wasn’t let down.
In the concentration camp, we see get a glimpse at the horrors which took place during this terrible time in history. Erich Ebner takes us on a journey through his time at in the camp and how he lived his life after surviving Block 46. Needless to say, I couldn’t help but feel empathy for him, even after he alienates his wife, because you had a small sense of the evil he had seen and been through.
In modern day Sweden, we have Alexis Castells coming to terms with the loss of her friend, Linnea, who had been brutally murdered and as a writer of a true crime she investigated the murder. At the same time in London, profiler, Emily Roy is investigating as it appears to be a serial murder due to a young boy turning up dead with the same wounds as Linnea. Alexis and Emily end up working together on this horrific and arduous case.
This is a beautifully written story. It moves at just the right pace and as everything comes together you get a real feeling of satisfaction along with a number of moments ‘NO WAY!!’
Here is a book that really is like no other I have read and I am looking forward to the next instalment of Roy and Castells. In the meantime, however, Block 46 is available for pre-order so get ordering!
I received this book from Orenda Book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.