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 truecrime 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.
I was thrilled when I was offered the chance to take part in the blog tour for Block 46 as I’d already heard about it and was really keen to read it.
This book was far more harrowing than I was expecting, and it was definitely more brutal and graphic in some of its descriptions and yet it was impossible to put down. I wanted to know what was going to happen, whether the case was going to be resolved and what all of the present-day murders had to do with the Buchenwald death camp.
I loved that this story is told predominantly through the eyes of a criminal profiler, Emily Roy, and a true crime investigative writer, Alexis Castells, who is also caught up in the murder of her friend Linnea. It gave a different slant to a crime novel than if it were told from a detective’s perspective and I found it really refreshing and different.
Emily is a fascinating character, I was intrigued by her all the way through the book. She has a very focused manner at times that leads her off into her own world and yet she deals with suspects so well and so cleverly. I also liked Alexis – she has a great way of being able to step back and see the bigger picture and complements Emily so well. They both have a tragedy in their pasts, which was touched on in this book so I’m interested to know more about that, along with how it’s affected them and made them who they are. I’m so pleased that there is to be a second book as I definitely want to spend more time with these two characters.
The scenes at Buchenwald were the hardest to read – it is so stark and unflinching, and I wasn’t expecting to read about the brutalities to the degree they were described. I could feel the sheer terror emanating through the pages. There were moments were I had to stop reading to just take a breath, but then the writing was so good that I was drawn to pick the book back up almost straight away.
Block 46 kept me guessing right until the very end – I genuinely couldn’t figure out who the murderer was. I thought I was onto something with a link to Buchenwald but I still picked the wrong strand to follow. I love when a book has me guessing and suspecting nearly everyone but not able to work it out; it doesn’t happen often but this book got me! I was honestly holding my breath as this novel gathered pace and I couldn’t read the words fast enough – I simply had to know who, what and where! The end, when it came, made sense but it left me reeling. I was honestly incapable of doing anything for quite a while after turning the last page, my mind wouldn’t stop turning over what I’d read. I was disturbed and unsettled by it but you’re meant to be, the writing is so brilliant.
Block 46 is harrowing, unflinching and brutal; it’s also brilliant, gripping and completely and utterly unputdownable! I highly recommend ordering a copy of this incredible crime thriller right away! I can’t wait to see what Johana Gustawsson writes next, I’ll certainly be first in line to buy it.
Block 46 was translated by Maxim Jakubowski.
Block 46 is due to be published on 15th May and can be pre-ordered now.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.
You can follow the rest of the blog tour on the stops below:
22 thoughts on “#BookReview: Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson #BlogTour @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks”
Loved this book Hayley and fab review x
Thank you 🙂 x
Fantastic review, Hayley. I’m going to read my copy really soon and I’m looking forward to it even more now! I’m like you, I’m rarely surprised these days about “whodunnit” so really hoping to be taken by surprise too 😊
Thank you 🙂 I hope you enjoy it as much as I did – it genuinely did shock me even though I’d suspected most of the characters so I hope it’s the same for you. I’ll look out for your review. 🙂
This really does sound powerful! And I’m one of those people who like past;present connections. I do keep hearing really good things about this one…
It was such a powerful novel – brutal at times but absolutely worth reading. I definitely recommend it.
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Check out the book Block 46, by Johana Gustawsson, from the Rather Too Fond of Books blog
This sounds like a heavy but compelling read. Your review is wonderful!
Parts of it are heavy and harrowing to read but it’s interspersed with a fast-paced and gripping murder investigation so it’s well balanced. I’d definitely recommend it, it’s a brilliant novel. Thank you so much, I really appreciate you saying that 🙂
Awesome review Hayley! Looking forward to this one
Thanks so much 🙂
I was so not prepared for the graphic and horrendous things in the books either! It was hard to read at times but totally worth it. I’m super happy you loved this book 🙂 Thanks for the fabulous review for a very deserving Frenchie author 🙂
It was definitely worth it and I’ll be recommending the book to lots of people. It was more harrowing than I expected but it was done so well and with sensitivity so it didn’t stop the book being readable. Thanks so much 🙂 xx
Yeah, the writing and the flowing of the story made it all readable, no matter how harrowing the words. xxx
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Even that cover is pretty terrifying! Now you’ve got me curious as to how the 1944 story line fits with the present, especially that assertion that the character would do anything to feel human again.
The cover is terrifying, but so memorable too. It’s an incredible novel – it’s harrowing at times but so sensitively written. I definitely recommend it.
I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks!
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