I never read Nicci French before and was at first irritated by Blue Monday because the reader is introduced to several characters, using a shifting third-person limited narration, without understanding who they are or why they’re important. Eventually, though, I was able to fasten on Frieda Klein as the main character.
The novel begins in 1985, with nine-year-old Rosie going home from school, followed by her five-year-old sister Joanna. Rosie takes her eyes off Joanna briefly, and the little girl is gone.
Twenty-two years later, a little boy, Matthew Faraday, disappears on his way home from school after his mother is late picking him up. Although at first the crimes don’t seem to be connected, Detective Chief Inspector Karlssen thinks they may be.
Psychiatrist Frieda Klein has recently taken on a new patient, Alan Dekker, who claims to be having such troubling obsessions that he can’t sleep or function correctly. They are about having a son, a boy he can play ball with. He is unable to have children but he doesn’t want to adopt. He obsessively wants a son, one who looks like him as a boy–exactly like the missing Matthew Faraday.
Confidentiality laws apparently not being exactly the same in England as they are in the states, after some soul searching, Frieda feels she must go to the police. Karlssen is impatient with her until she tells him that Alan had these feelings once before about having a daughter but they went away–just around the time of Joanna’s disappearance.
This psychological thriller, which is the first in a series, turns out to have a couple of twists I have never before encountered, so proved to be very interesting. Frieda is an unusual heroine, a cold, analytical person who roams the streets of London at night because of insomnia. I think it would be well worth it to continue reading books in this series.