Today I’ll be reviewing Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson as part of the blog tour, with many thanks as always to Orenda Books for the opportunity.
About the author:
Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.
About the translator:
Maxim Jakubowski is a crime, erotic, and science fiction writer and critic.
Jakubowski was born in England by Russian-British and Polish parents, but raised in France. Jakubowski has also lived in Italy and has travelled extensively. Jakubowski edited the science fiction anthology Twenty Houses of the Zodiac in 1979 for the 37th World Science Fiction Convention (Seacon ’79) in Brighton. He also contributed a short story to that anthology. He has now published almost 100 books in a variety of areas.
He has worked in book publishing for many years, which he left to open the Murder One bookshop, the UK’s first specialist crime and mystery bookstore. He contributes to a variety of newspapers and magazines, and was for eight years the crime columnist for Time Out and, presently, since 2000, the crime reviewer for The Guardian. He is also the literary director of London’s Crime Scene Festival and a consultant for the International Mystery Film Festival, Noir in Fest, held annually in Courmayeur, Italy. He is one the leading editors in the crime and mystery and erotica field, in which he has published many major anthologies.
About the book:
Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.
Buy the book:
I genuinely don’t know how to describe Block 46 without giving anything away. It is an absolutely stellar addition to the Orenda Books catalogue. Gripping, haunting and so completely evocative, it is a superb read.
Following the discovery of Linnea Blix, who was found mutilated and murdered, a body of a young boy is also found in London. The reader is then taken on a journey along with those tasked with finding out the truth. This investigation takes place over many locations, with many different characters taking part, and all of these different threads are woven together brilliantly by the author.
This is the second book I’ve read recently to have been set in Buchenwald. These parts are not easy to read. The author has done a great job of writing sensitively around an extremely harrowing subject though. Capturing the atmosphere can’t be easy, but I felt the most emotion while reading the chapters set there.
Block 46 is a murder/mystery in theory. But it is honestly so much more. It delves deep into people’s character, how they behave and react in certain situations and this is expertly written by the author. It’s not often I find myself struggling to find the words for a review. But I am with this one. Block 46 is brutal, honest and emotionally harrowing but it’s so worth reading!
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