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 10 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.
Keeper has definitely been one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Last year I read Block 46 by a French author I had never heard of and to say I was blown away is an understatement. So when I heard Johana Gustawsson had written another book, this time flipping back to my most favourite historical era of all, I could barely contain my excitement. She had me at the word “Ripper”!
Keeper sees the return of French true crime writer Alexis Castells and Canadian profiler Emily Roy as they are on the trail of a modern-day serial killer with chilling links to the past. Dark and devastating, and expertly translated from French to English, Keeper takes the reader on a journey that most other books don’t want to go on. Keeper reveals its story through the use of two timelines as it opens in present day London following the disappearance of actress Julianne Bell with similarities to a closed murder case a decade old. Switching location to Falkenberg Sweden, a woman’s body is found mutilated in the woods, again with disturbing similarities to the closed case from London 10 years ago. Above all that, both new cases seem to have a sinister connection to the Whitechapel Ripper killings of 1888.
Like it’s predecessor, I absolutely loved Keeper. It’s a difficult balance to get the serial killer element of a story just right, but with such a unique plot Gustawsson just nails it. There are a lot of characters to keep up with, and it took me a while to get into the swing of things with the alternating locations and timeline, but once I got into it there was no stopping me.
The further into the book you go the more the multiple threads from the beginning of the book seem to weave themselves together. I have a fairly dark imagination but even I was unsettled at the ominous road this book started to go down. Yet despite the unsavoury subject matter, the author’s writing remains beautiful and eloquent. Gustawsson’s descriptive prose had the sights, sounds and smells of poverty-stricken Victorian London leaping of the pages and engulfing me whole.
Keeper is bold, and it’s brave, but at the same time manages to retain its authenticity. Already I can’t wait for the next in the series and cannot recommend this book highly enough.
I received a free review copy of Keeper. Thanks to the author, publisher Orenda Books, and Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour and making me one happy lady.