Before the Poison by Peter Robinson
Blue Monday by Nicci French

Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 332
Source: Copy provided by publisher through NetGalley

The Short Version:
Psychotherapist Frieda Klein’s likes clean and simple in her surroundings and her life but right now it’s not happening and on top of it she finds herself in the middle of a missing child case.

Why I Read It:
The initial teasers I read about this book caught my attention because it’s a planned series that is expected to be in the psychological thriller realm which is one of my favorite styles of suspense.

The Book:
Twenty two years ago a little five year old girl went missing while on her way home from school with her older sister. She was never seen again and her sister never got over her feelings of guilt.

Today psychotherapist Frieda Klein realizes that the fantasy of a little red haired son that her new patient tells her about sounds remarkably like the news reports about a missing child named Matthew Faraday. When she goes to the authorities with her suspicions she becomes involved in the missing child case far more than she ever anticipated. Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Karlsson doesn’t want to become like the lead detective in the Joanna Vine case who never got over the missing child he couldn’t find.

The missing child case is only one of several storylines in this book. Frieda has multiple issues she’s dealing with along with the patient she’s trusting less and less. Her relationship with her lover is at a major crossroads. Her mentor is in a self destructive downward spiral. Her teenage niece is acting out in ways that could put her in danger.

Oh, and on top of that, in the middle of a session with a patient a Ukrainian handyman falls through the ceiling into her office.

My Thoughts:
Nicci French is actually the husband and wife writing team of Sean French and Nicci Gerard. I haven’t read any of their other books so this first in a planned series is my first exposure to their work. I will be reading more.

I freely admit that it took me longer than normal to become fully involved in this book. There are many storylines that take a while to really take off. I will say that I was glad that I hung in there because the payoff is that after a certain point I could not put this aside.

Frieda and Karlsson are both characters that I want to see again and I hope that both are in future books in this series. Even though Frieda is not exactly likeable, there is a certain level on which I can relate to her. Josef the Ukranian Handyman was by far my favorite character. If he’s not in subsequent books I’m going to feel cheated.

My advice for anyone considering this book is to stick with it. It seems a bit rambling and disconnected at first and while the main character isn’t necessarily the most relatable, the story continues to draw you in so don’t give up.

While I was able to anticipate a couple of things before they happened it never took anything away from the excitement of the final third of the book. I ended up pleasantly happy with how the final part of the book played out after being tempted to abandon it early on. Stick with this one. I’m not sure it’s a must read series for me yet, but I’ll be watching for the next one to see how it goes.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5