Friday on My Mind – Nicci French

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It’s a while since I read a Nicci French book, but I did not realize how long; this book is the fifth in a series that hadn’t been started then. So, having not read the previous four, my perspective may not be as favorable as someone who has read the lot.

The central character is Frieda Klein, a psychotherapist with a somewhat incident packed past. One of her former lovers is dragged out of the Thames, wearing a hospital ID band with her name. His throat has been cut. Who do the police think might be the killer? And so the intrigue develops.

This is a strange book, with Klein a matching character very much at the center of it all. I found the narrative less than convincing; for example, sometimes I couldn’t understand the motivation for Klein’s actions, or her expectation of the likely outcome. After all, this is a highly intelligent, educated women with experience of how the real world works. But she has this naive streak. It doesn’t fit. Or, more accurately perhaps, it did not seem like a rounded character portrayal.

The unraveling of the mystery was pedestrian, and kept far too much in the background until the closing stages. Moments of tension were few, and somewhat telegraphed. The supporting characters were OK, with a few that had great promise available to beef up the quality.

Despite that, this is a tale with a female lead – an independent character making her own (misguided?) way in the world.

Overall, an OK read, but I do wonder if reading the previous four would have helped build up the interest and maintain the excitement.

[PS: once more, I look at the hype for a book and wonder if those promoting it were reading something completely different. The only way Nicci French would be head and shoulders above the competition would be if the couple who use that name were standing on a ladder.]

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