Nicci French is the writing name of husband and wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. Nicci is the author of a number of novels but it was only when she and Sean joined forces under their pseudonym that the couple was able to chuck in their day jobs and concentrate on writing full-time. They have published 18 novels and short stories since 1999 – and specialise in psychological thrillers.
The duo’s latest novel Friday on My Mind features psychotherapist Frieda Klein, who first appeared in the novel Blue Monday. This is the fifth in the series, and although each novel can be read as a stand-alone thriller, the reader would probably gain more from the interplay between the recurring characters if they started with the first novel.
Frieda Klein, as a literary heroine, is an odd fish. She is buttoned up to the point of neurosis but manages to engender enormous love and loyalty from her eclectic collection of friends.
She is also being stalked by a man called Dean Reeve, who faked his own death. His obsessive protection of Frieda extends to killing people who brass her off. To complicate matters, the authorities believe Reeve is a figment of Frieda’s imagination and regard her with suspicion.
In this novel, Frieda’s former lover turns up dead in the River Thames. Frieda is certain that Reeve is responsible, but the police believe she is the killer. On the day she is to be formally charged with murder, Frieda scarpers and goes in pursuit of the true culprit. With the help of her friends, Frieda sets off on a game of cat and mouse to catch a killer while trying to evade the police.
This thriller is fast paced and the plot is gripping, even if occasionally the reader has to suspend belief. I’d love to see Frieda’s character lighten up a little in future novels, but it’s a minor quibble. Readers who are already fans of Nicci French won’t be disappointed and if you’re looking for a new series in the thriller/police procedural genre, Frieda Klein could be the girl for you.
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