Source: Review Copy
Sequel to international bestseller Block 46, and next in the award-winning Roy & Castells series. Murders in London and Sweden lead by to Jack the Ripper s Whitechapel.
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.
Last year I read Johana Gustawsson’s debut novel Block 46. Johana’s control of her plot and her characters blew me away. And in her second novel, Keeper, she has crafted another intelligent, complex and multi-layered story. Keeper is a triumph! I would warn, however, that this novel is not for the faint-hearted.
In the present day, a young woman’s body is discovered in a forest in Sweden, naked and mutilated. The murder bears haunting similarities to the Tower Hamlets murders which took place in London ten years earlier. But the police caught the person responsible, didn’t they? And when actress Julianne Bell disappears, profiler Emily Roy fears that the killer may have struck again and that the person they have behind bars may not be responsible for some of the crimes he was convicted for. We also travel back to 1888 when Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of Whitechapel. Are the murders committed by Jack the Ripper connected with what is happening today?
I have long been fascinated by the crimes of Jack the Ripper; a couple of years ago I went on the Jack the Ripper tour in London which Johana’s writing took me back to. There have been many speculations as to who he may have been, but what I have always been intrigued by is how his crimes have still been left unsolved more than a century after he committed them. We are never going to know the definite truth. Johana captured the scenery and the smells of Victorian London really well, I felt as though I was actually there; in the grand houses and amongst the working men and women of Whitechapel. In Keeper, Johanna shines a new light on the history of Jack the Ripper, which is done expertly well.
The crimes that take place in Keeper are grisly and stomach-churning; I really liked how Johana used the crimes of Jack the Ripper to form part of the basis of her plot, and it kept me engaged as I tried to work out how everything was going to come together. As I was in Block 46, I was shocked by the final revelations; it did make me marvel at the genius of Johana’s plotting and at the amount of research that she must’ve undertaken to pull her story together in a convincing way which she certainly did.
This is one of the most engaging novels I have read this year; I devoured a huge chunk of it in just one afternoon. I can’t wait to see what Johana writes next. Thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a copy of Keeper to review and to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication date: 28th April 2018
Print length: 300 pages
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