Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson and Maxim Jakubowski (Translator)

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Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson and Maxim Jakubowski (Translator)

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Kristen Perkins
Reviewed by Kristen Perkins
Summary: A gritty modern-day crime thriller with roots in the Nazi genocide, Block 46 is well worth your time. Short chapters make it feel like a quick and easy read, even though the plot itself may take a while to wrap your mind around. This is one story that will keep you guessing until the very end.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 280 Date: May 2017
Publisher: Orenda Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1910633700

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Jewellery designer Linnéa Blix fails to appear at a Cartier event presenting some of her new creations. Her friend Alexis Castells knows something must be wrong; nothing would have kept the talented young artist from attending this prestigious function. When a young woman's mutilated body is discovered in a Swedish marina near Linnéa's holiday home, Alexis' worst fears are confirmed. But Linnéa's death is not unique; in fact, she is only the latest in a string of similar gruesome murders that have occurred in both London and Falkenberg. Up until now, the bodies have all belonged to young boys, so what has caused the killer to change his or her MO? How can Alexis help to find justice for her friend, and stop a serial killer before he strikes again?

The plot jumps between two main timelines: the present day which focuses on Linnéa's murder and apprehending her killer, and the distant past which begins in the World War II concentration camp known as Buchenwald. Here we meet Erich Ebner, German medical student turned Nazi prisoner. He eventually becomes assistant to one of the camp doctors and scientists, a man called Horst Fleischer, until the camp is liberated in April of 1945. Doktor Fleischer's experiments are unknown to us at first; all we do know is that they are either completely insane or they are so important that they could change medical practices forever. Or perhaps they are both at once.

Back in the present, after travelling to Sweden to seek answers Alexis meets up with an acquaintance whom she believes can help her with this case. As a true-crime writer, Alexis has worked with Canadian criminal profiler Emily Ray in the past. Cold and seemingly unempathetic, Emily is a difficult person to like. But regardless of whether anyone likes her or not, she certainly knows her craft and impresses with her leaps of logic. With Alexis' help, she uncovers a shocking story of cruelty and horror that has spanned decades.

Over the course of the novel, we learn how the different timelines and various stories fit into one picture. Johana Gustawsson masterfully weaves the pieces together into a thrilling tapestry filled with mystery and terror. I found that the story takes a little while to really get off the ground, but I highly recommend sticking with it. Once I began to understand what was happening, I couldn't stop reading until I knew the truth. And that truth that is ultimately revealed absolutely knocked me off my feet.

The chapters themselves are all very short, some not even taking up one full page. I really enjoyed this style, although some people may find it a bit choppy and hard to follow with all the starting and stopping so often. I did find it necessary to use a translation website at times, as there is some German and Swedish dialogue that is not explained in the text; however, not using one probably wouldn't affect the overall feeling of the story. If you enjoy psychological as well as visceral thrillers, then I definitely recommend giving this novel a chance.

If this book sounds like it may interest you, then I recommend trying Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard.

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Buy Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson and Maxim Jakubowski (Translator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson and Maxim Jakubowski (Translator) at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson and Maxim Jakubowski (Translator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson and Maxim Jakubowski (Translator) at


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Kate said:

Sounds like a great story! I appreciate the review!