Blue Monday: A Frieda Klein Mystery

Blue Monday: A Frieda Klein Mystery

by Nicci French

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101560488
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/01/2012
Series: A Frieda Klein Mystery , #1
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,420
File size: 3 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Nicci French is the pseudonym for the internationally bestselling writing partnership of suspense writers Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. They are married and live in Suffolk and London, England.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Complex and flawed, Frieda Klein is a refreshingly human protagonist, an intriguing debut for a truly unique character.”
Tami Hoag, bestselling author of Down the Darkest Road


Tami Hoag

“Complex and flawed, Frieda Klein is a refreshingly human protagonist, an intriguing debut for a truly unique character.”

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

“Entire walls shivered and then crumbled to the ground; inside walls suddenly become outside walls . . . hidden lives suddenly exposed” (p. 23).

London psychotherapist Frieda Klein has gone to great lengths to impose order on her life. Estranged from her family and reluctant to sacrifice her independence for love, Frieda has achieved tremendous success throughout her career. So after her celebrated mentor, Reuben McGill, suffers a breakdown, she is asked to take over one of his patients. Frieda accepts, only to be drawn into a world of dark uncertainties when her new patient’s disturbing dreams become a chilling reality.

At forty–two, Alan Dekker doesn’t believe he’s having a midlife crisis. Until recently, Alan felt at peace with the quiet life that he and his wife, Carrie, had made together. Then he began having the nightmares. He doesn’t “want to be the kind of person who had such things in his head” (p. 24), but he can’t stop them from coming. Afraid to sleep and unable to work or be intimate with Carrie, Alan has become a desperate man.

Frieda promises Alan a “place where you come and talk about yourself, with honesty” (p. 53). Warily, he begins to open up, recalling a similar period twenty years earlier when he was also plagued by nightmares and longings until they both just went away. Then, Alan confides that he’s sterile. He and Carrie never pursued infertility treatments or adoption, but lately he’s yearned for a son—a “little boy who looks like me” (p. 71).

Alan returns for his next session, bearing a photo of himself as a young boy. She’s struck by how much young Alan looks like Matthew Farraday, the five–year–old whose recent disappearance dominates the headlines. Tearfully, Alan acknowledges the resemblance, saying, “He’s my dream.”

Could it really just be a coincidence? And, as a therapist, how could Frieda justify reporting Alan to the police? All the same, a young boy is missing and Frieda knows she can’t ignore her nagging sense that Alan knows more than either of them cares to admit. And what will it take for the prickly Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson to listen to her? Wintry, atmospheric London is more than a backdrop for Frieda—it is a dark, dangerous character in this novel. Suspenseful and haunting, Nicci French’sBlue Monday introduces a compelling heroine in a riveting new series that fans of psychological thrillers will not want to miss.

ABOUT NICCI FRENCH

Nicci French is the pseudonym for the internationally bestselling partnership of suspense writers Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. They are married and live in Suffolk and London, England.

A CONVERSATION WITH NICCI FRENCH

Q. Blue Monday is your thirteenth book and the first book in a new series of psychological thrillers that introduces Frieda Klein, a psychotherapist. What was the inspiration for this new series?

Frieda came along before the idea of writing a series did. We had always said we wrote stand–alone thrillers, but then we thought about a central character who is a therapist, someone who believes you can’t solve the mess in the world but you can try to address the mess in your own head, the pain and fear and anxiety inside of you. We thought of her as a different kind of detective, a detective of the mind, who is unwillingly dragged by the events that unfurl in the novel out into the real world.

Once we had imagined Frieda—solitary, insomniac, prickly, difficult, honorable, trustworthy, fiercely private—we knew she needed more than one book. She has to be discovered over time. And from that the octet gradually emerged. The books will cover a decade in Frieda’s life and the lives of the cast that she assembles around her; we want to see how time marks them, how they are changed by the experiences they live through together.

Also, we became excited by the idea of writing eight books that could stand as gripping thrillers in their own right, but which are also connected by one overarching story. In Blue Monday a fuse is lit that will burn its way through the remaining seven books, coming to a climax in the final novel.

Q. Where did the title Blue Monday come from?

This is the first book of a planned series of dark thrillers that will be named after the days of the week. The title Blue Mondayseemed perfect to us because it is about beginnings but also about the difficulty of beginning, its pains and regrets and fears. It also happens to be the title of two (very different) great songs—by Fats Domino and New Order.

Q. Set against a backdrop of a dark, tangled London, Blue Monday illustrates your power over sense of place. As Frieda navigates its streets, one can almost feel the damp chill of London’s foggy night air. What is your writing process? What are some things about the London you depict in your books that those of us in the United States might not know?

As regards London, our writing process is to do what we have always done, which is to spend a lot of our time walking, cycling—and sometimes running—around the city, exploring its hidden alleys, squares, canals. We both have spent many years living in the city and every time we go out we see something completely new. Much of Blue Monday came out of those walks.

A few things you need to know about London:

It’s big; really big. Greater London is about thirty–five miles across.

It’s really old. It’s been a continuously functioning (and dis–functioning) city since the Romans and it has been built on, burnt down, bombed, demolished, and built on again, over and over.

London is really a collection of villages that used to be separated by fields and meadows and woodlands and orchards that gradually got filled up but which still hang on to their identity. In good ways and bad, London is a jangling mess. North Londoners don’t like South London, East Enders feel persecuted by everybody, West Kensington isn’t really in Kensington, and wherever you’re from, anywhere in the world, you’ll find a community somewhere in London.

London is a landscape as much as a city—one of the oldest and most complicated landscapes in England.

And still, there’s so much that we don’t understand about London. For example, why do tourists always go to Madame Tussauds?

Q. Are there any real–life cases that informed or influenced your writing?

There was not one particular case that inspired the events of Blue Monday, and, really, the source of the plot came from the visceral feeling we have about lost children—like a fairy story, a myth, every parent’s nightmare. On the other hand, there are of course the vivid stories we’ve read and thought about over the years: Elisabeth Fritzl, held captive by her father for twenty–four years in a concealed basement; the kidnap and extraordinary rescue of Jaycee Dugard. There are cases in the UK of, for instance, Madeleine McCann, which so gripped this country; the schoolgirls Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, who disappeared and were later discovered to have been killed by their school caretaker; the disappearance of twenty–one–month–old Ben Needham when on holiday on a Greek island. . . . There are dozens of famous cases that have gripped the nation, and many more that we don’t ever hear of. These children who go missing haunt the lives of those who know and love them—and this is what we wanted to write about.

Q. What are some things about you that might surprise those of us in the United States?

Sean: My mother is Swedish and we spend every New Year in central Sweden. On New Year’s Eve we have a sauna and jump through a hole in the ice.

Nicci and I studied the same subject (English literature) at the same university (Oxford) but we didn’t meet until ten years later.

In 2005, we ran the London Marathon together. Literally—we crossed the line at the same time.

Nicci: I broke my back a few years ago (and have sworn never to get on a horse again).

I am trained as a celebrant—I can bury people!

One of my passions is growing chilies—very, very hot chilies. Another is eating them (if you eat burningly hot chilies when they are frozen, you can taste their real flavor and only later do they explode in your chest like a small bomb).

Q. Frieda is a psychotherapist. What kind of research did you do to make her so real?

Sean: Frieda emerged from our fascination with the whole subject of doctors whose job it is to make sense of our lives just from the way we talk about them. We have friends who are therapists, we have a certain experience with therapy, we’ve talked to people who have undergone therapy, and we’ve read an awful lot about it.

Nicci: And also, in a way, therapy is a bit like writing itself: you take chaos and put order onto it, a road out of the dark woods.

Q. What are you working on now?

Sean: We’ve just finished the second Frieda Klein and we’re standing nervously by the edge plucking up the nerve to dive into the third one.

Q. You are known as the internationally bestselling author Nicci French, yet there are two of you: Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, writing partners and husband and wife. Why did you decide to start writing fiction together?

Sean: In the first years we were married, we talked about the idea. We knew that people could collaborate in different ways but we were interested in whether two people could write a novel that had one voice, where you were really creating a new person.

Nicci: It was like an experiment. But looking back at it, all these years and fourteen books later, it seems so odd, such a strange thing to do when we were both working flat out anyway, with four tiny children racing around the house. We didn’t do it because we thought we would write a book, get it published, become Nicci French. We did it to see if we could do it, because it seemed like a shared adventure—and it has been a shared adventure, a way of exploring the world together.

Q. How do you manage coauthorship? Do you sit down and write together or do you take it in shifts?

Nicci: When we talk about how we write together we tend to make it sound much neater and better managed than it is—it’s actually a rather chaotic and messy business. The one thing we never do is actually sit down and write together, and the thought of one of us dictating to the other is a kind of madness, it just wouldn’t work. We spend a long time talking about the shape of the novel, the story, the way the plot goes, the development of the characters, and above all the voice of the narrator into whom we both have to write; and once we’re satisfied with that, then we’ll start to write. The writing will quite often take us away from the plan, but that’s what we do. One of us will write, say, the first chapter and then hand it over to the other who is absolutely free to change it, edit it, erase it, add other words to it, and then that person will write the next chapter and pass it back. It’s a question of moving between the two of us. We never decide in advance who’s going to write what chapter. There’s no division.

Sean: We felt that in order for it to work we both have to be responsible for everything, whether we (individually) have written it or not. If there’s any research that needs doing for a book, then we both have to do it, we both have to have all of it in our heads.

Nicci: If Sean writes something and I change absolutely nothing about that whole section, but I read it and approve it, then it becomes mine as well. It becomes a kind of Nicci French thing, so we both own each word of it.

Q. Why did you choose to write crime novels?

Nicci: I’m interested in crime in the sense that I’m interested in the strange path that people’s lives can go down. I’m not so much interested in the criminal; I’m much more interested in the victim, the effects of the crime and what lies beneath the settled surface. Most people, when you meet them, present themselves as ordered and controlled; they have a self–possessed image. Underneath that, everybody is a welter of doubt, grief, loss, nostalgia, love, and hate; that’s what I’m interested in. The thrillers that we write are not about fiendishly clever serial killers outwitting the police; they’re about ordinary people who have extraordinary things happening in the middle of their lives, and the way that they change and have to resolve things. I think that attracts us to the thriller genre.

Q. You chose to use a female pseudonym, and almost all your novels so far have been written from a female viewpoint. Is there a reason for this?

Sean: The first idea we had was about recovered memory, and because 99 percent of those who recover their memory in therapy are women, the main character obviously had to be a woman. Once that was decided, it just seemed to follow that if we were going to choose a name, it should be a female name. Women have achieved a kind of independence and equality, a nominal independence, and yet so many things haven’t changed. There are so many kinds of unexpected pressures that have come along with that, and that seemed an interesting road to go down.

Nicci: It is that sense of there being a crosscurrent between what modern women are like now—assertive, independent, strong, ambitious, and yet still physically vulnerable, but also vulnerable to all the things that attack us from the past, all the things we’re conditioned to feel. There’s a kind of emotional vulnerability and intelligence, a particular kind of female intelligence that seems to be a good way of looking at the world.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
(Spoiler Warning: Plot points may be revealed)

  • During her first session with Alan, Frieda tells him, “This is a place where you come and talk about yourself, with honesty. You can do it in a way that you probably can’t with anyone else, not with close friends or your wife or people you work with” (p. 53). Could most of us use a place like the one she describes? What is your opinion of psychotherapy?
  • Were you surprised that nine–year–old Rosie was in charge of getting Joanna, her five–year–old sister, home safely from school? At what age do you think one child can be responsible for another? Has this changed from the time Rosie was a girl?
  • Decades later, Rosie is still crippled by guilt over Joanna’s disappearance. Why do we often feel just as guilty about things that aren’t our fault as those that are?
  • When Dean is stalking Matthew, he thinks, “It’s always like this. There comes a moment when you just know. It’s as simple as that. After all these months of watching, of waiting for the tug on the line and the bait to be taken, of being patient and careful, of wondering if this one is possible or that one, of never giving up or getting downhearted, then suddenly it happens” (p. 68). Do you think that Joanna and Matthew are Dean’s only victims?
  • Sandy didn’t tell Frieda about the job he’d accepted at Cornell until weeks after they’d become romantically involved. Was Frieda right to feel betrayed? Or did Sandy’s hopes that Frieda would join him in America justify his silence?
  • What does Frieda’s relationship with Chloe tell you about the psychotherapist? Why do you think she is estranged from the rest of her family?
  • After giving birth to twins, June Reeve abandoned one of the babies in a park and kept the other. Why didn’t June tell Dean that he had a brother? If evil can be ranked, who is ultimately more wicked, June or Dean?
  • Even after Chief Inspector Karlsson learns that Terry is Joanna, he wants to press charges against her for Matthew’s kidnapping. After being kidnapped herself and brainwashed into accepting a new identity, do you think Terry/Joanna is responsible for her own actions? Should the police treat her as a criminal or as a victim?
  • Besides reporting her suspicions to the police, Frieda breaches doctor–patient confidentiality by investigating Alan’s life without his knowledge. Does the nature of the crime excuse her ethical lapse?
  • At the end of the novel, Matthew has been rescued, but the Farradays are reluctant to allow the police to question their son. What would you do in a similar circumstance, as a parent? If you are a parent, did having a child either increase or diminish your sense of community with the rest of humanity?
     
  • Blue Monday is a collaborative work between two writers. Could you tell that more than one voice was involved?
  • Customer Reviews

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    Blue Monday: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
    Twink More than 1 year ago
    3.5/5 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.
    SharonRedfern More than 1 year ago
    This book opens with the kidnapping of a five year old girl in 1987. I thought that I would not be able to read it but I kept going. Am I glad I kept reading! This story is one that you just cannot put down. Frieda Klein is a therapist who gets a new patient after her boss and former mentor screws up the patient’s initial appointment. The patient Alan, talks about how he wants a child and fantasizes about a red headed son he mysteriously gets. When a little boy matching the described fantasy child disappears, Frieda goes to the police and starts a series of events that she never would have imagined. Even though this lead doesn’t pan out Frieda keeps getting contacted by the lead detective and the two of them plug through many twists and turns involving Alan, the kidnapping, and even the 1987 kidnapping. Frieda herself is going through some difficulties with her family and the man who has recently become her lover. The police detective is having family issues. Her boss, Reuben has split with his lover and of course the patient at the center of it all, Alan, is coming to Frieda for anxiety related to his family or lack of one.. The interesting thing about Alan is that he seems to be in the most stable relationship of all the characters. The book goes into the workings in a therapist’s mind when she knows she may be crossing an ethical line in service of the greater good of the community and whether that is really a valid reason to do so. Frieda does seem to be a principled person, who finds herself in an unimaginable situation. Every time you think you have figured out what is happening in this book, you are surprised by a new twist. The final twist is especially shocking (although I had suspected) and the book does not tie up all of the loose ends. This is the first book in a series by Nicci French, who is actually a husband and wife writing team and maybe some things will be revisited or as in real life, sometimes we never get answers. I eagerly await book two in the series!
    tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
    This novel, whose protagonist, Frieda Klein, is a psychotherapist, is promised to be the first of a new series of psychological thrillers authored by this husband-and-wife team. It has the makings of an interesting work, but it seems to me that Frieda, whose profession is helping other people to cope with life, needs a lot of help herself, which makes for a lot of ambiguity and confusion. At the heart of the plot is the disappearance of two children a couple of decades apart, and somehow Frieda, while treating a patient, divines clues to help the police solve the two kidnappings. Of course, the idea seems to be based on solid psychology principles, but appears to be contrived. Maybe the plot is too complex and Frieda a too-complicated personality for the reader to sustain undivided interest. On the other hand, it is interesting and one hopes another effort will be more rewarding.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is the first novel I've read by Nicci French and was very impressed. Blue Monday is smart, suspensful, serious but yet has light-hearted characters. I couldn't put it down and was sorry when it was over. I look forward to the next book!
    GreenEyedReader More than 1 year ago
    Excellent 1st in a series. Two children are missing-one twenty two years ago(the start of this story) and one current. Mystery taking place in current London. Freida Klein is a psychotherapist. She takes on a patient and through her treatment of this patient the story intersects with the mystery of the missing children and Freida aiding the police to solve the kidnappings. Freida is a loner, loves her profession and her home, confident in herself and her life, yet is very human with her own love and family issues,and her interactions with co-workers and friends.. This is a page turne, very interesting and keeps your attention. Writing is staccotto, somewhat jumpy, sifting alot.Plot twists, some surprising and some unexpected. Overall VERY GOOD; will look forward to more in this series.
    sandiek More than 1 year ago
    Dr. Frieda Klein is a psychotherapist who practices in London. Intensely private and reclusive in her private life, she is insightful and able to help those few patients she agrees to take on. London is abuzz with the latest crime story--five year old Matthew Farraday has been kidnapped from the street and is missing. The police are trying everything they can, but Matthew has just vanished into thin air. Drawing on his years of expertise, Chief Inspector Karlsson believes that this crime may be related to one that occurred twenty years ago where five-year-old Joanna Vine was also taken from the street. She was never found, her body never identifed although common wisdom says she is long dead. Frieda meets Karlsson when she is moved to break a patient's confidence; something she has never done. This man, a new patient, has recurring dreams of having a child; specifically a son. That son looks exactly like Matthew Farraday. Dr. Klein is disturbed enough by the resemblance that she has her patient checked out. His alibi for the time of the disappearance is solid, but as Frieda continues to probe she uncovers the shocking secrets of his life. This is the first book in a new series by the writing team of Nicci French, the writers Nicci Gerrald and Sean French. Readers will be immediately drawn to the reclusive Dr. Klein and interested in both the Chief Inspector and the flow of the investigation. The writing is brooding, mysterious, compelling. This book is recommended for mystery lovers.
    Humbee More than 1 year ago
    Sometimes I'm timid about taking on an English novelist (or two in this case) when it comes to suspense and mystery. I don't always "get" the nuances and I wonder if that causes me to lose something in the whole. But, when I started reading "Blue Monday" I knew immediately this was going to be a book I could tuck between my fingers and rest assured I wouldn't miss a blink understanding! This book is killer. I couldn't wait to get to the resolution of the story, but I didn't want it to end. You know exactly the kind of book I mean! A true suspense/thriller. The character of Freida Klein, psychiatrist and eccentric, is just genius. She's no ordinary blank- slate minded doctor. She's involved and going outside the acceptable boundaries to help her patients. It's enough to have me out of my apple green recliner applauding!! What an amazingly humane and respectable creation she is. Hurray for women psychiatrists!! I could tag along with this one in as many books as Nicci French wants to write. Klein's friends and companions are equally entertaining and invested in helping others even when it makes them climb outside the box. This is an entire crew of people to cheer for! I adore them. Their grit, panache and absurdities are so familiar I want to jump on them! The other, more mysterious characters developed in "Blue Monday" revolve around the kidnapping of two children of a close age, 20 years apart, within a similar circumstance. It's very difficult to do more than tell you there are fascinating connections between odd and seemingly random people. This major plot will make your head spin. Each of these primary characters are so intricately drawn that it's as if they'd been specifically diagrammed on a page of their own. They are perfection of person and psychology. Rangey, ratty and raw of emotion, these are people from the darker side of life. Scary even to read about them, even scarier to get a peek into their psychological make up. You will find this a fantastic suspense novel with extraordinary plotting and conniving from Machiavellian minds. You'll be turned around and around in slammed doors of dead end resolutions, false turns and pot holes. Mirror-like reflections will keep you in suspense. A thrilling race for time will keep you on your toes as if you're the one hunting for the lost child. And a final drop in deep space will have you gasping. I can't wait to read more books with Dr. Frieda Klein as the psychiatrist in charge. This is a top-notch suspense/thriller. Deborah/TheBookishDame
    Dollycas More than 1 year ago
    Frieda Klein believes the world is out of control and the only thing we can control is what is inside our own heads. Yes, she is a psychotherapist. A very obsessive compulsive one at that. She spends her free time walking the streets of London to clear her head and get her thoughts in order. Frieda has a patient that keeps having recurring dreams for a child that looks just like him. He and his wife have been unable to conceive and it has tormented him so that he is very near a mental break. When she learns of the disappearance of 5 year old Matthew Farraday and sees his resemblance to the child her patient has described he feels she must notify someone is charge of the investigation. She never imagined she would be working with the chief investigator to find the boy. Dollycas’s Thoughts It is very important to lay out a really good foundation when starting a new mystery series and these authors (Nicci Gerrard + Sean French) have done an excellent job. Revealing enough about the primary characters to immerse us in the current story but leaving us intrigued about where these characters will go and grow in future installments. Frieda Klein is a perfect imperfect protagonist. She already has many layers. Reuben is a troubled soul that continues to emerge. Josef is a mystery himself and because of his background adds a little humor to a very intense story. Inspector Karlsson is a tough nut to crack but we can see a relationship with Frieda moving forward. The primary character to this story, Alan, was very well written as he struggled through his pain and dealt with a therapist he thought had betrayed him and had secrets revealed about his life that he never could have fathomed. All the characters are flawed which gives them so much depth. The mystery is extremely complex and suspenseful. A few white knuckle moments. These are experienced authors with several other bestsellers. They know how to create a thrilling tale to keep us turning those pages. It starts slow and builds. I am anxious to see where the next Frieda Klein takes us.
    Anonymous 4 months ago
    So+good%2C+a+must+read%21
    kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Nicci French is actually a married couple who write as a team - Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. I haven't read them before, but the plot description grabbed me and I dug in.I keep reading British thrillers that blow me away and are often by writers who are new to me - Sister by Rosamund Lupon and Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton come to mind. Blue Monday joined that category. There is something very delicate about the way this book is written and the way its story unfolds.Against the backdrop of a child abduction, we are introduced to Frieda Klein, a psychoanalyst living very much inside of her head - a woman after my own heart because she walks all over London (just as I do all over Berkeley). The story of the child abduction and the various ways it comes to be connected to another abduction and, sort of, solved is the context that Frieda inhabits. In many ways the strength of the telling lies with the focus on character and relationship and inner voices, rather than the actual (very disturbing) set of crimes.When one of Frieda's patients tells her of a dream that mirrors the recent abduction, she is forced out of her solitary chair and walks and out into the world, reluctantly joining the police in trying to find out what happened to this child. There are many twists and turns and a surprise at the end that I should have seen coming, but somehow didn't (very rare for me - good job, authors).There are wonderful secondary characters, my favorite being Josef, the Ukrainian builder who appears in the book quite suddenly. I don't want to give too much away, but his appearance and subsequent involvement with events in the book is a highlight. Josef brings the real, practical world of maintaining the structures in a way that is real, interesting, and much needed. He is not living in his head, but in the world.Add the starring role that London plays, a disturbing and effective mystery and you have a great read. I'll definitely look for the second in this series.
    Myckyee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    If I belonged to a mystery/thriller book club, Blue Monday would be an excellent choice for the club read. There are so many things going on in this book that would lead to good discussions. Is such and such character really who they claim to be? What is the main character¿s real motivation? What is she hiding? There are so many questions and it would be fun to get other opinions, so I¿ll be reading other reviews aside from mine. I can¿t imagine however that I will read a bad review!Blue Monday kept me awake until the wee hours on Sunday night and made me late for work (yes, I blame it on the book!) the next morning. Not because I slept in too late but because I picked it up again in the morning and just had to finish those last fifty pages!The premise is an interesting one: a psychotherapist suspects one of her patients is involved in the disappearance of a young boy. What the therapist does with her suspicions leads the reader on an ever-deepening mystery about what exactly is going on. Meanwhile, the boy is still missing. There are lighter moments too in the form of a builder from the Ukraine. He conveys a humorously solemn feeling to the scenes he is in.Blue Monday is a must-read for mystery and thriller fans and for those who haven¿t tried that genre yet. This book has just the right amount of creepiness. It¿s got what I call the `chill¿ factor in spades: that feeling you get when you thought you knew what was going on but come to the slow realization that there was something else eerily creepy taking place right under your nose. This is an engrossing read and one I highly recommend.
    Twink on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    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.
    cookiemo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    This is the first book I have read by Nicci French. I found it a little hard to get into but enjoyed it once I did.I will read more of this author's work.
    writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Frieda Klein is a reticent woman, a psychotherapist living in London who helps others work through their inner turmoils while she is reluctant to open up in her personal life. She has trouble sleeping, walking the streets of the city at night where she feels most comfortable. When a troubled and anxious man named Alan comes to her for help, Frieda at first approaches the case as any other. But when a young boy named Matthew Farraday goes missing, Frieda recognizes something disturbing: Alan¿s dreamlike expressions about wanting a child are uncannily similar to Matthew¿s disappearance, and Matthew looks like he could be Alan¿s son with his red hair and freckles. Frieda takes her worries to chief inspector Karlsson, a surly man who reluctantly listens to her. As the case unfolds, disturbing questions arise: Who is Alan and is he capable of stealing a child? And is Matthew¿s disappearance related to another child abduction from 25 years ago?Blue Monday is the first in a new series featuring Frieda Klein, and it is a suspenseful and twisty psychological thriller. Frieda is a complex character who at first left me a bit cold with her reserved and careful demeanor. But as the novel progressed, I found myself empathizing with her character and wanting to understand her psychological underpinnings. People seem to move in and out of Frieda¿s life ¿ an immigrant who literally falls in front of her, a colleague on the verge of professional collapse, a lover who no longer wants to live in London, and her dysfunctional sister and troubled niece. Frieda is the unflinching and constant influence in all these people¿s lives, and yet she seems almost untouched by them.Perhaps the most interesting part of this novel is how the connections are revealed between characters. Nothing is really as it first appears. There is a terrific twist about half way through the book which I didn¿t see coming and which adds another layer to the mystery.If I have any complaints with the book, it was with the latter half which felt a little slow to me. Some of the plot turns at the end were a bit predictable as well. That said, I did enjoy this novel for its psychological depth and because of Frieda who, despite her short comings (and maybe because of them), is a strong enough character to carry a series.Readers who love psychological suspense will want to read this book. Atmospheric with strong characterization, Blue Monday is the type of book that will appeal to readers who like their novels dark and mysterious. I will undoubtedly be looking for the second book in the series when it is eventually released.
    Beamis12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Really enjoyed this first book of a new series. This is a psychological novel, with a psychoanalyst as an aid to the police, and has brilliant twists and turns as they try to save the life of a young boy. Fantastic writing, good characters, Josef is a character I really enjoyed and hope he will be making an appearance in future books. Will appeal to fans of Minette Walters and Sophie Hannah.
    maneekuhi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Blue Monday is a very enjoyable book despite several flaws. It's about a London psychiatrist, Frieda Klein, who becomes involved in a missing child case. Actually, there are two cases, spanning more than 20 years - are they related ? Frieda is an interesting character, an occasional insomniac who enjoys walking London streets at 3am. There are many characters in this first book of an 8 book series, and most are well done. Patients, cops, colleagues, a handyman. The story moves along at a brisk pace and there are the usual Nicci French pearls, e.g., you can only love one city (and London is Frieda's love). Frieda is unattached, very unattached - she has just broken up with her love who has taken a position in America - will he be back? (excuse the soap operaism, probably not fair). So Frieda is available and meets the cop, and sparks fly. Not romantic ones, sparks like what are you doing on my turf, and, I'm having a bad day so I thought I'd yell at you... This is one of the flaws mentioned above - several scenes between the cop and F just don't feel right. Somehow, NF have to fix the cop before book 2. Irascible is ok, but it just isn't working here. It's not cute, doesn't feel real - some of those scenes feel like a bad romantic comedy. Capra coulda fixed this. The climax is good, but.....there is probably one too many last minute twists/coincidences. But it's not a totally happy ending, so there's a bit of realism there I suppose, and it works. These are the things that give clues to what the rest of the series might be like. More - Frieda doesn't always act with the professionalism that one would expect from a psychiatrist, see the restaurant scene - so that didn't feel real either but that's ok. Maybe 4 stars is a bit generous. The title is ok, should be easy to keep track of the order of the books, but that was about all it did for me. I'll read the next one, but I don't feel committed to the series yet.
    SharonR53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    This book opens with the kidnapping of a five year old girl in 1987. I thought that I would not be able to read it but I kept going. Am I glad I kept reading! This story is one that you just cannot put down.Frieda Klein is a therapist who gets a new patient after her boss and former mentor screws up the patient¿s initial appointment. The patient Alan, talks about how he wants a child and fantasizes about a red headed son he mysteriously gets. When a little boy matching the described fantasy child disappears, Frieda goes to the police and starts a series of events that she never would have imagined. Even though this lead doesn¿t pan out Frieda keeps getting contacted by the lead detective and the two of them plug through many twists and turns involving Alan, the kidnapping, and even the 1987 kidnapping. Frieda herself is going through some difficulties with her family and the man who has recently become her lover. The police detective is having family issues. Her boss, Reuben has split with his lover and of course the patient at the center of it all, Alan, is coming to Frieda for anxiety related to his family or lack of one.. The interesting thing about Alan is that he seems to be in the most stable relationship of all the characters. The book goes into the workings in a therapist¿s mind when she knows she may be crossing an ethical line in service of the greater good of the community and whether that is really a valid reason to do so. Frieda does seem to be a principled person, who finds herself in an unimaginable situation.Every time you think you have figured out what is happening in this book, you are surprised by a new twist. The final twist is especially shocking (although I had suspected) and the book does not tie up all of the loose ends. This is the first book in a series by Nicci French, who is actually a husband and wife writing team and maybe some things will be revisited or as in real life, sometimes we never get answers. I eagerly await book two in the series!
    nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Frieda Klein is a psychotherapist in her mid-thirties who is seeing a patient, Alan Dekker, for panic attacks. His dreams and thoughts preceding these attacks have aspects which sound remarkably like details of the abductions of children that have terrorized London. In spite of her commitment to the confidentiality of patient confessions, she feels obliged to go to the police. She begins to work with Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Karlsson, and soon is in incredible danger herself.Discussion: Frieda tries to lead a very controlled, regulated life. She is afraid of deviation from routine, and afraid of being happy. She is unapt to reveal her vulnerabilities or doubts, and as Karlsson observes to his frustration, keeps herself to herself. And in fact, at one point she tells someone that she never falls in love with her patients because she knows too much about their thoughts: ¿You can¿t fall in love with someone if you know everything about them.¿ It¿s a good character portrait, but it doesn¿t help the reader get to know Frieda anymore than it helps Karlsson. I¿m hoping that in future installments of this new series, the omniscient narrator will relent a little a give us more about Frieda¿s interior life.Evaluation: This is an incredibly scary thriller with plenty of twists. The main source of the twists is a clever gimmick that the authors won¿t be able to repeat in the future, so I look forward to seeing if future books come up with as many twists and turns. (This is the first in a planned series of eight featuring Dr. Klein.) I also really like Karlsson, and hope to see him again as well.Note: Nicci French is the pseudonym for the writing team of husband and wife Nicci Gerrard and Sean French.
    kylenapoli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Frieda's a very interesting character with a personal history in knots it will be fun to tease out in future books. Although the final twist in this particular plot won't come as a surprise if you've been paying attention, that doesn't make it any less juicy. Recommended.
    Samantha1020 More than 1 year ago
    I'm so pumped about this series after finishing this book! Last year I read and adored Dark Saturday which is a later book in this series. I've been meaning to go back to the first book every since then and thank goodness that I finally did. I started and finished this book in one day. A day in which my husband was having shoulder surgery so that should tell you how compelling that I found this book! I was able to lose myself in it despite everything that was going on. It was the perfect distraction and way to keep me from just sitting there worrying (like I'm prone to do). It's funny but having read a later book in this series first, I could see how this book sets everything up for books to come. We meet characters that are still in those later books and a bad guy like no other. I know that I'm missing pieces but they will all fall into place as I continue to catch up on this series. I should have listened to some of blogger friends and started reading this series years ago! In this book, Frieda gets involved in the search of a kidnapped boy - a kidnapping that is starting to seem like it is related to another kidnapping over twenty years ago. Frieda is such a great main character and I really enjoy reading about her. She is a bit of a mystery in that she just seems so distanced from those around her. She walks at all hours of the night and as the reader I could never quite get a feel of what is going on in that head of hers. I loved it though because I am so intrigued by her! I never know what to expect from her and that's a good thing in my opinion. The mystery portion of this book was so completely well done and unexpected. I don't want to give anything away but if you like a good twist (as seems to be so popular nowadays) then check this book out! I can honestly say that I won't be waiting long to continue on with book two because I just NEED to see what happens next! Overall, I basically loved my time with this book which is really all you need to know. It was such a compelling thriller, and has pushed both this series and author to my must read list. I've heard that the eighth book is going to be the last one which is a bummer only in that I enjoy these characters so much. That being said I still have a good number of this author's books to catch up on before then and hopefully they will continue to write other books in the future. I'm basically gushing at this point but this is a series and author to definitely to check out in my opinion. I can highly recommend to both thriller and mystery fans alike. Trigger warning in that this book features a kidnapped child - I'm sure that isn't something that all readers will want to read about so thought I would give you a heads up. Highly recommended otherwise though! Bottom Line: An amazing beginning to what is now fast becoming a favorite series of mine (and I've only read two books in it)! Disclosure: I checked this book out from my local library.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Frieda Klein ,being a psychotherapist, is an interesting way to add to a mystery. I enjoyed those sections. I believe the author could have been more complex with the psychology though.
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A very satisfying thriller. Looking forward to more Frieda Klein.