Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson
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 true-crime 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.
This is such an intriguing novel. It has an awesome plot description, that instantly draws you in. Set between two timelines, the modern day investigation of the murdered children on Hampstead Heath and a woman in Sweden. With a haunting backdrop from WW2. How are these two era’s linked? What message is the killer trying to convey?
Emily Roy is a Quantico trained, member of the Canadian royal mounted police, thrown together with Alexia Castells a French true-crime writer. To solve the case. When the case in Sweden of the dumped corpse is not only identified as Alexis’s friend Linnea in Falkenberg Sweden, but linked to the deaths of the murdered boys on the London Heath via their unique injuries. The case gets much more complex. Is this the work of one killer or two? How is the killer moving around undetected?
The details of the injuries make for dark graphic reading and are not for the faint hearted. But it adds to the unique story and in a dark twist works well with the events of the past.
Erich is a German prisoner is Buchenwald Concentration Camp. The chapters from his perspective are some of the darkest, most evocative passages, I have ever read regarding the holocaust. I read lots of WW2 fiction and non-fiction, which obviously included details of the Holocaust. What Scared me, was the way Johana has brought it alive. You almost feel as though you are a witness to Erich’s degradation and de-humanisation. It is brutal reading but also factual accurate and in-fitting with the reality of what the Camps were really like.
The modern day investigation continues to build, I found parts of this slower in pace but it could be because the chapters from the Camp and killers POV, were so utterly harrowing!
There’s so many characters to become accustomed to but the writer does a fantastic job of making the core ones the most present in the story. There are some references to real people of WW2 and I admire the author for keeping it facts and accuracy. The twists and turns are really ramped up at the end and it really is a cracking read. Highly recommend!
The question remains now…………….Do you dare discover, what takes place in Block 46?
Web page at Orenda: http://orendabooks.co.uk/johanna-gustawsson/