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.
Read an excerpt of Blue Monday. A reading group guide is also available. You can find Nicci French on Twitter.