Series Review: The Frieda Klein Series, by Nicci French

Title: The Frieda Klein series (Blue Monday, Tuesday’s Gone, Waiting for Wednesday, Thursday’s Child, Friday On My Mind, Saturday Requiem, Sunday Morning Coming Down, Day of the Dead)

Author: Nicci French

Genre: Crime

Published: 2011-2018

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when a picture of his face is splashed over the newspapers, psychotherapist Frieda Klein is left troubled: one of her patients has been relating dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew. Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson doesn’t take Frieda’s concerns seriously until a link emerges with an unsolved child abduction twenty years ago and he summons Frieda to interview the victim’s sister, hoping she can stir hidden memories. Before long, Frieda is at the center of the race to track the kidnapper. But her race isn’t physical. She must chase down the darkest paths of a psychopath’s mind to find the answers to Matthew Farraday’s whereabouts. And sometimes the mind is the deadliest place to lose yourself.

I have to thank Jen and her YouTube channel for getting me into this series. It’s an eight book series, and I read it in a little more than a month. I clearly couldn’t stop. But what is it about this series that’s so addictive? For me, it was the characters. Above all – other than the mystery aspect of course – Nicci French is great at creating a compelling cast of characters, all of whom feel human.

Before this, I hadn’t read much crime at all. Just the odd thriller, but none that stood out (except for A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, but that was YA). Therefore I can safely say that Frieda Klein was my first experience with crime fiction — and I loved it. On a technical level I loved the dialogue; it was fast, sounded real, and each character had a very distinctive voice. This is incredibly hard to achieve, but Nicci French does it very well.

The series spans eight books. Every book has its own mystery, and the series is linked by an overarching thread that will tie at the end. At the centre of the series is Frieda Klein, a psychotherapist who gets involved in a case of child abduction. From there, the reader meets Frieda’s found family: Reuben, her former tutor, Josef, a builder who crashed through her ceiling, Chloë, her niece and Olivia, Chloë mother and sister in law, Jack, a student Frieda is mentoring and finally DCI Karlsson, the detective involved in the case. Although Frieda is a private person, her friends always manage to invade her space in an endearing and sometimes annoying way. What I appreciated most was how human everyone was: they all made mistakes, no character was flawless and the lines between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ were blurred. This gave a realistic feel to the whole series, because life is not clear cut, but messy. By the end of the series, I was reading the books not for the mystery aspect but because of the characters. There’s something comforting about them and the whole atmosphere that makes it cosy (ironic, I know).

I won’t include any spoilers in this review, just tell you that if you’re looking for a fast paced read with a great cast of characters that you’ll grow to love, this is for you. The first book’s ending and the end of the series as a whole was very satisfying. I will re read these books soon as I’m not ready to say goodbye yet. Let me know if you’ve read it and what you thought of it.

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