While a knowledge of the previous books in this series would help with understanding some references, it is still a fine stand alone piece of writing.
Our hero Frieda Klein , therapist is drawn into her past by the supposedly suicidal death of an old school friend's daughter's death. There are too many similarities to her own bad experience some 23 years before. She must trace the perpetrator before more vulnerable young girls become the victims of some sexually depraved apology for a man. She deduces that it must be one of her schooldays' group, but which one? The elimination of the innocent as she hones in on the guilty one makes for gripping reading.
The background is her home town when as a girl she never really fitted and the death of her unloving mother who never supported her when in need.
The lives behind closed doors of her mother and several acquaintances are gradually and at times surprisingly revealed
Up to the usual Nicci French highly intriguing standard. The bestof believable crime fiction.
on 2 July 2014
Less enjoyable, weaker plot, more annoying Frieda than in the previous books. I found the plot unbelievable and the murderer very easy to spot.as for Frieda herself - she comes across as even more difficult to like inthisbook and I am at a loss as to why any of her friends, old or new, want to help her in any way. When Frieda herself helps others it is so grudgingly that you can just see the expression on her face. Why she isn't just left alone to stew on her own i don't know. Disappointing read after Monday through Wednesday. Only hope that Friday improves.
on 29 May 2014
In this novel, Frieda goes back to her home town of Braxton, which she left suddenly 23 years ago when she was 16. She hasn’t been back. She hasn’t seen her mother since then or her school friends.
Now, she’s been drawn back by the story of a young girl who was raped during the night in her own home in Braxton.
If you’re at all familiar with small town life, you’ll recognise the tensions between those who left to make a life elsewhere and those who made their lives locally. Here, Frieda’s meetings with her old school friends, many of whom tell her she should never have returned, throw up all the old dynamics – who married who, who’s aged well or not, who turned out exactly as expected.
Pretence plays a large part in the novel – school teenage friends who pretend to like each other, who pretend to be more experienced than others in the group. Frieda pretends to be in Braxton because her mother is dying but is actually conducting an investigation. Becky, the young girl who was raped, is accused of pretending that it all happened in the first place and isn’t believed by her mother. In fact, the only one who doesn’t pretend at all is Frieda’s mother, who is painfully honest and narky to the end.
Along with the storyline is a revelation of who Frieda was as a teenager, how others saw her, and who she is now. Her two selves are represented by Braxton with its familiarity, interconnections due to lack of choice or imagination, and the lack of anonymity that lies in each small town. Today’s Frieda is represented by London, where friendships evolve through choice, and she is free to walk her worries away with perfect anonymity, and hid out in her house, taking the occasional dip in the bath installed by her newest friend, Josef.
Through it all, rivers, as ever, provide the geographical backdrop and key moments happen on the river banks.
I thoroughly enjoyed the latest in Nicci French’s (Nicci Gerrard and Sean French) novel and am glad that, for me, Thursday’s Children built on the promise I found in Waiting for Wednesday.
“Wake up those dogs... set them loose on the world”
The Frieda Klein series has never been anything other than bleak, grim and frequently desolate – but it’s been growing in emotional and literary stature, and this, the fourth in the series, is the best to date. Both a fine novel, as well as gripping crime fiction, this places Frieda herself right at the centre of the plot and delves into her past and some of the psychological reasons for her being who and what she is.
Frieda is one of the most difficult, challenging and complex women in contemporary crime fiction: she’s spiky and awkward, often ill at ease, and never seems to feel truly at home in her own skin, or in the world. She’s fierce and compassionate, and yet holds all her emotions on a tight rein so that she appears to be always composed and almost impersonal to many other people. She refuses to pander to what social doctrines tell us women ‘should’ be, and lives her life on her own terms. And yet she’s increasingly brittle, and the danger that her intensity will cause her iron self-restraint to, eventually, crack is a risk that threads through these books.
This is a book which takes rape seriously, and which doesn’t treat it as an over-used and convenient plot device: it explores what it means, its basis in power rather than sex, and the far-reaching effects that it has. The relationship, too, between Frieda and Dean Reeve takes on an almost metaphysical nature as he continues to be her dark angel, almost a demonic twin.
So this is a dark and often uncomfortable read which uses a crime-fiction theme and structure to delve much deeper than is customary in the genre. It probably could be read as a stand-alone, but does rely on the previous three books for some of its emotional impact. For anyone who has, like me, been following Frieda from her first outing, this consolidates the series as one of the most intelligent, hard-hitting and morally serious crime series being written at the moment.
(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
on 12 June 2014
I found this easily the most enjoyable and riveting book in the Nicci French series and it is the fourth book featuring the psychotherapist Frieda Klein. They have appeared annually so I am already looking forward to the fifth book which should feature the word 'Friday' in its title and appear in 2015 if the current pattern is continued.
The strengths of this book are the descriptions of the characters and the locations. As there is a recurring cast of characters the reader knows them all quite well as they all return with varying amounts of appearance. Sandy,presumably deliberately, is not particularly fleshed out and does not engage in the same way as characters such as Chloe, Sasha and Josef.
However, the character of Dean is beginning to become more than irritating, it is actually becoming intrusive and completely unrealistic, even in a work of fiction such as this.
After 23 years Frieda returns to Braxton, the sleepy Suffolk coastal town where she spent her first 16 years. The story grips and develops at a pace that is neither rushed or laboured. The denouement is slightly disappointing as it involves something other than police procedure or intuitive deduction by Frieda but the involvement of a character that is threatening the very fibre of such a strong series. The married couple that are Nicci French have created a series that is immeasurably superior to the countless plethora of detective, serial killer, mass murderer, style books that cover the shelves in every bookshop and library. Everything (apart from Dean) is just right - the underground rivers of London and their connections to the Thames, the haunting and realistic depiction of London - often on a windswept or rain-pelted night , even the end-papers with sketch maps of London featuring relevant underground rivers in the style of a casual artist such as Klein herself.
Thank you so much Nicci French for another gripping tale - but please don't drag the Dean thread much longer as it is beginning to dominate the stories in an insidious fashion and I'm not sure that this is what you intend and I don't believe it is what the reader enjoys either.
on 6 August 2014
After being completely gripped to the first three books I couldn't wait to read the fourth. I love this series... Frieda Klein is such an amazing character.... Great storyline again and again . I can't wait to turn the page and read more and more... sometimes I am so absorbed I feel like I am actually there!!! I've loved every single one and read them all in a matter of weeks.... now have withdrawals as I am waiting to see if there is another in this epic series. I do hope so :)
on 27 July 2015
This is BRILLIANT but would advise to read the first book in the series and the subsequent books in the series to enjoy this at its fullest as the story refers to things in the main character and the other characters past that will only enhance the read and enjoyment of the book,the you will be in for a real treat as it does not disappoint the reader ,its a cant put down one .
We keep hearing, 'you can't go home again'. But, apparently, you can, for awhile. Frieda Klein, the psychotherapist, who has grown close to our hearts, finally gets to tell her story.
An old classmate of Frieda's turns up one day with her child in tow. The child is anorexic, has some sort of issues and is not doing well. The classmate, Maddie, asks Frieda to see her. What she discovers shocks Frieda to the core. The young girl, Becky, was raped, and the words the rapist left her with, Frieda had heard herself. She knew she must go to the home she had left 23 years ago. She attempts to help the young girl, but the mother is upset that Frieda believes her, and storms out. Now, we learn about Frieda, her previous life, her parents, her brothers, the reason she left home at aged sixteen. At they same time, Frieda tells her close friends about her own unfortunate circumstances, and they close around her. Sandy returns from the United States, and decisions must be made.
I found the writing of this book superb. Some of the situations seemed absurd and overdrawn and left me with questions, but in the whole, a work of art. Sandy turns out to be a big disappointment to me. Frieda's other friends are all exactly what we would think they would be. Her old classmates are essentially what many old classmates turn out to be. Dean Reeve returns, and it must be that in the fifth book, that Friday, is when we learn all about Dean and why he is following and protecting Frieda, and what he is up to. Thursday was a perfect runner up to the finale, that must come soon. Dean Reeve cannot be strung out much longer. I will absolutely hate to see the end of Frieda. But we must get rid of Dean, and we must see Karlsson happy with his children at home, and, just maybe, a romance with Frieda. Frieda is such a dark woman, we must begin to see the light now that she has revealed her true self, and whatever secrets she had exposed. Friday can't come too soon.
Recommended. prisrob 04-19-14
In this book Frieda Klein has to deal
with a situation in her past that she buried.
She hoped this awful painful memory was finished
but now she has to deal with it.
An ex school friend comes to her because her
daughter is having issues.
Frieda gets to the bottom of the issue
and it turns out that this poor child has
suffered at the same hand as her.
Frieda has to go back to her school days town,
her mum and all the ghosts that come with that.
Frieda has to deal with what is happening now
and what happened in the past.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
The emotions keep you wanting to read more.
You go through the rollercoaster with the characters.
It's a 5 out of 5 for me!
on 12 February 2016
Loved the start of the Frieda Klein series but it needs closure. The Dean situation is becoming predictable and uninteresting. Dean doesn't freak me out now when I read his name, he needs to! He's become Frieda's "guardian angel"?!? Too long a series and Frieda is beginning to annoy. Josef's and Reuben's kindness a bit too unreal too. Surely they would be giving a few short sharp shocks by now! Real friends would be kicking arse! Lets get back to a raw stand alone novel, where the characters actually should be in therapy and not a therapist! Take it back to the start, Killing Me Softly, Secret Smile, Catch Me When I Fall. Still great reading as always but lacking that something with Frieda now.