Title: Blue Monday
Author: Nicci French
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Rating: 4 out of 5
Frieda Klein is a consultant psychoanalyst living in London. By day, she works with patients and by night, she roams the city, a loner at heart. When one of Frieda's patients begins to discuss dreams about having a red-haired son, Frieda feels like he is just trying to work through his issues. But when she discovers that a five year old, red-haired boy named Matthew Farraday has been kidnapped, a child who looks remarkably similar to the boy described in her patient’s dreams, Frieda feels that she has no choice but to involve the police.
Blue Monday is a novel that takes its time to really get going. That’s not to say it’s slow or boring, but that French (the pseudonym for the writing team of Nicci Gerrard and Sean French) is careful to construct their setting and build up their main character prior to really delving into their story. This means that the novel seems to wander for the first quarter or so, and readers may wonder where the authors are taking them.
Frieda is an appealing main character. Capable and very smart, she exudes professionalism and confidence to those around her. Inwardly, though, she isn’t quite so put together as she appears. It’s clear Frieda is damaged in her own unique way, but she never dwells on this. Instead, she focuses on her patients, trying to help them control what is in their heads because they have so little control over the world around them. She’s definitely good at her job, and takes her patients seriously, even if she thinks they are creating their own issues.
As mentioned above, the mystery in Blue Monday takes some time to get going, but it evolves in a very organic way. Frieda doesn’t stumble upon a dead body, or anything so obvious. Instead, French litters clues throughout the first part of the novel, building the overall plot subtly and surely. It’s very well done, and makes for an intriguing story. The mystery is engaging and takes the reader on twists and turns. Admittedly, some are difficult to believe and others are easy to predict, but overall, if you can immerse yourself in this novel, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised by the ingenuity of the authors.
Blue Monday is also well-written. French’s writing is atmospheric and their descriptions are absolutely wonderful. Overall, this is an enjoyable, quick read that really draws you into the story. I enjoyed getting to know Freida, and the novel was one I wanted to consume in one sitting because it was gripping and easy to read. I definitely recommend it to mystery fans, and it might also make a nice change for your next book club pick.