WOW! My ‘lil star guest reviewer Claire Knight has only got herself a stop on Johana Gustawsson’s BLOCK 46 blog tour! How about we have a look at the book before I share Claire’s awesome review!
ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
Claire’s Rating: 5/5
When I heard Johana read parts of Block 46 and talk so passionately about what she had written at the recent Orenda Roadshow in Leeds, I knew I had to read this book. So when I was invited to join the blog tour, I jumped at the chance.
This is a haunting tale split between a current day murder investigation and a harrowing depiction of life for a prisoner of war in Germany. This POW wasn’t any “normal” POW, he was German and he was branded a traitor. The author’s research into and personal connection with such a horrific period in history really shines through in the writing. I felt shocked at the treatment and torment POWs were subjected to whilst imprisoned. I felt immersed in wartime Germany suffering the same horrifying time. This is such a chilling and thought provoking part to the story.
As for the present day part to this novel, I took daily literary trips to the rather chilly Swedish coast to follow the investigation of a jewellery designer. You may ask what does that have to do with a prisoner of war camp, well I guess you have to read Block 46 to find out the connection but I will tell you the climax to this story left me stunned! Goosebumps and shocked hand over mouth!!
This is a totally compelling read – it slowed my reading right down so I could be entirely encapsulated in the story. Most books I read are ones I can read whilst my children are playing or the TV is on. Johana’s book was not one of those; I couldn’t pick it up and put it down, I needed to finish chapters before I could put my kindle to sleep. As I read the parts the author had read over a month previous, I could hear her beautiful French voice reading and singing to me.
I really wish my A-Level French was up to scratch as I would love to read this story in its natural form. But unfortunately it is not, however as with many translations, Block 46 has been done beautifully and seamlessly. This is an amazing debut from the author and I understand there is more to come from the pairing who investigated the present day murder which I will definitely be queuing up to read!
I can’t thank Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books and Anne Cater enough for my copy of Block 46 and for inviting me on the blog tour. And a #BusterBear thanks to Noelle for letting me host for #Crimebookjunkie. Johana Gustawsson is someone to watch!