All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Thursday’s Children – Nicci French

on March 27, 2014

Thursday's ChildrenThursday’s Children (Frieda Klein #4)
Nicci French
Penguin Books AUS
2014, 421p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Twenty-three years ago, Frieda Klein left the small coastal town where she grew up. She has never been back. Instead she has forged her own life in London, working as a psychoanalyst and recently, getting a little attention for her work on several police cases. Frieda has never felt any desire to return to where she came from, in fact it’s the last thing she wants to do. However when an old school acquaintance looks her up, asking if Frieda will help her teenage daughter, she agrees to see her, albeit reluctantly.

What Becky, the teenage girl has to say tells Frieda several things. Firstly, this isn’t just a girl looking for attention, or going through some harmless teenage angst. She has had a real and terrible thing happen to her and it seems that no one really believes her and that there’s nothing she can do about it. Secondly it brings back a storm of memories for Frieda, of a time when she was sixteen and a secret she has buried for the past twenty-three years and tells Frieda that it’s time to do something about what happened.

There’s nothing else Frieda can do except return to her hometown and confront her secrets head on. She has to find out what happened that night and she’s willing to do anything and speak to anyone in order to do so. People are dying because of this secret, because no one believed her all those years ago. Frieda needs to find answers and the killer before they can strike again and keep tormenting innocent young girls.

Thursday’s Children is the fourth novel in the Frieda Klein psychological suspense series co-written by husband and wife team Nicci Gerard and Sean French. Given the titles of the novels, which all feature a day of the week, I guessed we’d be limited in the amount of novels this series would include. I found an old article saying there is expected to be 8 – one named for each day of the week and then a final novel to “bring resolution”.

There’s no denying that Frieda is a bit of an odd character. She’s a loner who prefers long walks around London at night to socialising although over the last four books we’ve seen people shoehorn themselves into her lives: Josef, the Ukrainian builder, Sasha a woman who came to her as a patient being taken advantage of by her therapist, DCI Karlsson who first requested her help and the people she has time for, her niece Chloe and Chloe’s often incapable mother Olivia and Reuben, Frieda’s former supervisor and analyst. There’s also her on/off lover Sandy who disappears and reappears regularly depending on whether or not Frieda is comfortable with him at any given time. This book provides perhaps the most development of their relationship although that development is mostly puzzling.

In this novel the reader learns perhaps more about Frieda than in any of the other books in terms of her past. Frieda has rarely, if ever spoken of her past and her family but a lot of her background is constructed here, including her teenage life with her group of friends, her devastation over her father and her disconnection with her mother. It sort of amazes me the way Frieda just strolled back into her hometown and started talking to people about a night some twenty-three years ago like it was yesterday and everyone was supposed to remember exactly what happened and what they were doing. Obviously some people didn’t react too well to her turning up and poking around, unsure exactly why she was doing it and what on earth she was doing there after so long. Frieda may inspire people’s loyalty now, in the present, but there are some definite mixed feelings towards her in her hometown.

As always, I enjoyed reading about the way Frieda went about getting her information. She’s pretty much like a dog with a bone – she doesn’t let go and she keeps pushing, keeps demanding information until she gets it. She’s not intimidated when people don’t want to see her, or blame her for something horrible, she keeps turning up and keeps asking questions. I didn’t really pick the offender in this one either – I have to admit when Frieda made the connection and announced who it was I went “What?!” in my head because they weren’t someone who had registered on my radar. However, Josef guessed it easily which obviously reinforces how bad I am at picking the culprit in these types of books.

Since the beginning now there’s been an unsolved issue running through these books – sometimes it’s a bit on the backburner, sometimes it’s more front and center. Given the limited amount of books that’s going to be in this series, I can guess that perhaps it’s all heading for a final showdown to resolve this unfinished issues that began in Blue Monday. Frieda and so far Karlsson are I think the only two people who know that there is a dangerous man on the loose, everyone else believes that he is dead. The powers that be who could reopen the case are unwilling to listen to Frieda, having already had huge problems with her and her methods in previous books and to be honest, I can understand how that would be the case. She does tend to tread on a lot of toes and is seemingly uncaring about that. When she’s on a mission, she’s an unstoppable force until she gets her answers.

Another solid installment and it only builds the anticipation for what is going to happen in the future.


Book #70 of 2014


One response to “Review: Thursday’s Children – Nicci French

  1. I have wanted to read this series since the first book came out, where has the time gone. It is looks like a great series, so very me, I must get on it. And it is available on Netgalley but I won’t read out of order.

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