Review – Thursday’s Children by Nicci French

By | April 5, 2014

When psychotherapist Frieda Klein left the sleepy Suffolk coastal town in which she grew up she never intended to return. Left behind were friends, family, lives and loves but alongside them, painful memories; a past she wouldn’t allow to destroy her.

Then, years later, an old classmate appears in London asking Frieda to help her teenage daughter and long buried memories resurface. Death soon follows, leaving Frieda no choice but to return home to confront her past. And the monsters no one else believed were real . . .

Through a fog of conflicting accounts, hidden agendas and questionable alibis, Frieda can trust no one as she tries to piece together the shocking truth, past and present. Before another innocent dies.

I’ve written before about this wonderful series by Nicci French.  With some very few notable exceptions, I’m always reluctant to get tied up in a series of books as I’d rather prefer to read wherever and whenever fancy takes me, but this one has me hooked – and I think Thursday’s Children is probably the best yet.  This is the fourth in the series – Blue Monday Tuesday’s Gone and Waiting for Wednesday preceded it.  Again, I’d urge you not to start mid-series – there are summaries but it does help if you understand the detail surrounding Frieda’s complex web of relationships, the significance of Dean, the back stories of all the characters and the significance of their actions.

What made this book even stronger than those that preceded it for me was that it really got inside Frieda’s skin, and knowing more about her former home life and the experiences that shaped her made her all the more fascinating as the central character.  Starting with the traumatic experience of the 15 year old daughter of a former school classmate, there prove to be personal links that take Frieda back to rural Suffolk, re-encountering her teenage classmates and remembering experiences.  The usual cast of characters is all here too – niece Chloe (who persists in treating Frieda as confidante about her new relationship, with all the unnecessary detail), DCI Malcolm Karlsson, sometime partner Sandy, fellow psychotherapist and friend Reuben, troubled friend Sasha, the wonderful Josef.  And underpinning it all, the sinister presence that permeates all the books.

The writing is quite superb – this book had me reading into the early hours, feverishly turning pages – with Frieda at its heart and focus, an absolutely fascinating character, full of depth and complexity.  Reviewing thrillers can be a bit frustrating – there are story details that you just can’t reveal for fear of spoiling things for other readers – and, even more so, when those thrillers are part of a series. But if you enjoy your thrillers taut, complex and peopled with well-rounded and fascinating characters, please don’t miss this series.  This book ends quite perfectly – but I already can’t wait for Friday.

My thanks to netgalley and publishers Penguin for my advance reading e-copy.

Nicci French is the pseudonym for the writing partnership of journalists Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. The couple are married and live in Suffolk.  Thursday’s Children is the fourth in the Frieda Klein series: they have additionally written twelve earlier stand-alone psychological thrillers, and also write and publish independently.  Thursday’s Children is due for publication on 10th April by Penguin/Michael Joseph: the previous novel in the series, Waiting For Wednesday, was published in paperback on 30 January.  For more information on the Nicci French writing partnership and their books, visit the official website.  They can also be followed on Twitter and have an official page on Facebook.

One thought on “Review – Thursday’s Children by Nicci French

  1. Joan Hill

    Another great review Anne. Thanks for sharing. I've read and enjoyed the first three in the series. I will read this one!

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