BOOK REVIEW: Keeper – by Johana Gustawsson @Orendabooks

Title: Keeper
(Emily Roy & Alexis Castells #2)
Author: Johana Gustawsson
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: March 15th 2017
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: August 27th 2019
Pages: 300
(Originally written in French: ‘Mör’)

“The news had hung in mid-air for a moment, a millisecond of incomprehension and doubt when reality only existed in words, as if it were gearing up to hit you where it hurts.”


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And it happened again… As with the first book of the Emily Roy & Alexis Castells series, I’ve been struggling to get a word on paper after finishing Keeper last week. Such is the power of these books! Many fellow bloggers have recommended this series to me over time, and I’ve definitely become a fan. Keeper has only reconfirmed my love for this series, and even a week after I’m still recovering from the shock of this absolutely brilliant and without doubt disturbing read. But it’s time for me to stop procrastinating as I really want to dive into my copy of Blood Song, so let’s see if I can put together a somewhat coherent review…

Like in the first book, the first thing that stands out in Keeper is the combination of two of my favorite genres: historical fiction and crime fiction. And not just any historical period: this sequel involves the infamous Jack The Ripper! That alone is a huge bonus for me, but having both genres merged so successfully really turns this series into something special. Both past and present are excellently developed and Johana Gustawsson has a way of making you feel like you are right there next to the characters. The historical chapters are described realistically and in great detail; I really loved how she incorporated the Jack The Ripper references into the plot as well. The historical chapters give this crime thriller an unique touch and once again really enhanced the reading experience for me.

Another thing I loved is the international setting. Having part of the story set in Sweden definitely added more dept to the story, especially with similar murders being discovered in both London and Sweden. Descriptions of both the Swedish setting and culture are thorough and give you the perfect backdrop for this blood chilling read. Because there is one thing for sure: you will have to prepare yourself for a particularly harrowing and brutal read…Trigger warnings are in place for themes including (child) abuse, addiction and (extreme) violence. Oh yes, this is not just another ‘simple’ serial killer case, and the things you will learn about the past and present will leave you flabbergasted. Keeper is definitely a keeper, but only for those with a strong stomach! You will get some relief though in the form of new favorite characters Emily Roy and Alexis Castells. Apart from the fact that I love that they are not the typical detective leads, but instead are a profiler (Emily Roy) and a true-crime writer (Alexis Castells), I really like both their dynamics and their personal development in this sequel. There was another character that really stood out for me in Keeper though: Aliénor. She really added a little something extra to the present chapters set in Sweden and I hope we will see more of her in the future… That said, the other characters are likewise well developed and it was fascinating to learn more about the who, how and why behind the murders as well as trying to discover how it could be connected to the events in 1888.

The structure of the plot is complex and has multiple POVs, flashbacks and different settings. This only adds to the richness of this story and it is one of the reasons this series in general is one of my favorite new discoveries this year. The chapters are well balanced despite the multiple POVs and settings… Since you already know quite a lot of characters from Block 46, it is really easy to just dive in, forget about pending chores and fully immerse yourself into the story. The writing is simply beautifully and the pace is just right; it was hook, line, and sinker from the very first chapter and I finished this briliant read in no time at all, albeit with a few fingernails less than before. Why? I can guarantee that the excellently developed plot twists, well placed moments of suspense and shocking paragraphs will have you biting your nails and checking your blood pressure repeatedly in no time at all.

In short, if you enjoy a well written, expertly crafted and unique crime thriller with a historical twist, you should definitely schedule yourself a meeting with Emily Roy and Alexis Castells. Both Block 46 and Keeper are exceptional books I can highly recommend to any fan of the genre.


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WWW Wednesdays #235 – August 28th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading the final three books for #NEWTsReadathon2019. I’m hoping to have finished The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson by the time this post goes live… I’m also starting The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor and The Passengers by John Marrs; both 2019 releases I’ve been super excited about and can’t wait to finally read.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Sleepover by Carol Wyer (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/09
I’m a fan of Carol Wyer’s books as her detective thrillers are a garantuee for an entertaining and thrilling ride. The Sleepover is already the fourth meeting with detective Natalie Ward and she is really growing on me… Fast, thrilling and entertaining; this is without doubt another excellent addition to the series. Natalie’s personal story evolved a lot this time around as well and I really hope she will stick with her final decision in the next book…

2. The Cellar by Natasha Preston (3/5 stars) REVIEW  15/09
The premise of this story is absolutely fascinating and I’ve been looking forward to read it ever since. But somehow, I didn’t enjoy the actual story as much as I thought I would. The elements are there: a twisted serial killer, a kidnapping, a prolonged hostage situation… But somehow it was all overshadowed by just how whiny and annoying the main character Summer was.

3. The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway (4/5 stars) REVIEW 22/09
Confession: I don’t think I’ve ever read Ernest Hemingway‘s books before. *hides in a corner* I’ve been meaning to pick up The Old Man And The Sea for quite some time now, and to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m glad I thought of this title when I was browsing for short reads to fit one of the prompts for #NEWTsReadathon2019, because I ended up enjoying it so much more than I thought I would.

4. Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (3/5 stars) REVIEW 22/09
Warning: it’s unpopular opinion time again! The story started out strong for me and I had high hopes it would be a winner for me… But I guess it wasn’t ment to be in the end. There were a lot of things I loved, but the characters and romance made me enjoy this story a lot less than I thought I would.

5. Keeper by Johana Gustawsson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/09
After so many recommendations as well as loving the first book, I knew I was going to be in for treat with this one. And this story most definitely disappoint. Shocking, harrowing and absolutely brilliant… This sequel again blew me away! I can’t wait to read book three as soon as I can get my thoughts together and finish my review for this one.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As I don’t think I can squeeze in more #NEWTsReadathon2019 books after finishing my current reads, it’s back to ARC business… First up is The Essence Of Evil by Rob Sinclair as my blog tour stop is right around the corner. Then I’m changing genres and get my dose of romance with Secrets of The Mist by Kate Ryder… I also want to finally read VOX by Christina Dalcher some time soon. And I have a new TBR jar pick! The Museum Of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman, a title I’ve been wanting to read for a while and will be looking forward to.


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WWW Wednesdays #234 – August 21st

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

I’m baaaack!! ❤ I should have known not to take a break during #NEWTsReadathon2019 month, as I couldn’t resist reading a LOT for the readathon and spending a lot of time on Twitter anyway. xD Below an update of what I’ve been reading since my last WWW post three weeks ago!

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading three books for #NEWTsReadathon2019: a new Carol Wyer and sequel The Sleepover, which I will probably finish soon, the TBR jar pick The Cellar by Natasha Preston and the modern classic The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I’ve had the last two on my TBR for quite some time, and I’m looking forward to finally read them.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
2. Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW  25/08
3. The Archived by Victoria Schwab (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 25/08
4. An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
5. Apple Of My Eye by Claire Allan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/09

6. What You Did by Claire McGowan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 29/08
7. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/09
8. The Willow Woman by Laurence Westwood (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/08
9. Outrun The Moon by Stacey Lee (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/09
10. Date Night by Samantha Hayes (4/5 stars) REVIEW 23/08

11. The Sixth Wicked Child by J.D. Barker (5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/08
12. Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/09
13. To Drink Coffee With A Ghost by Amanda Lovelace (4/5 stars) REVIEW 16/09
14. 29 Seconds by T.M. Logan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/09
15. Twisted by Steve Cavanagh (5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/09

16. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/09
17. Smoke In the Sun by Renee Ahdieh (3/5 stars) REVIEW 15/09

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’ll be reading more #NEWTsReadathon2019 titles next… I’ll probably pick up Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco first, a title I’ve been meaning to read for ages. Then I’ll read Keeper by Johana Gustawsson, which I’m so SO excited about because it has Jack The Ripper references too and the first book was fantastic… I already have a feeling it will be a new favorite. I also want to read The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor. And I have a new TBR jar pick! The sequel The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson; I really enjoyed the first book so I have high hopes for this one. It’s also the third story that has references to Jack The Ripper on this list… xD


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