Cover Image: Block 46

Block 46

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author, for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
Unfortunately, I have tried reading this book on 2 separate occasions and during that 2nd attempt, I have only managed to make it halfway through so I’d rather stop here and state that this book just wasn't for me.
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Emily Roy, a profiler, and Alexis Castells , a crime writer, team up to determine if the murder of young boy and the murder of a close friend of Alexis’ are connected due to the similarities of the crime.  The story travels between London and Sweden and current time and the Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1944.

This book was chilling!  It had a slow build (was a little graphic at points) and a few twists at the end that I knew were coming - I just didn’t know what they would be.  I loved how the story connected different time periods and places.  Looking forward to reading book 2 in this series!
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This book is intensely dark and suspenseful. It would make an amazing horror movie. I couldn’t put it down - it was so intense.

When Linneà Blix is found murdered and mutilated, her friends assume it was a random act. But soon, they discover that her death is part of a larger case, involving several other victims across two countries. The crime may trace its origins to the horrors of the Holocaust - where inhuman acts were everyday occurrences.

The novel alternates between the present investigation and the past, where it all started.

I was so gripped by this novel, I think I read it in something like two days. It was so suspenseful, I had no idea what was going to happen next. And I certainly didn’t see that big twist coming. It was brilliantly executed. Amazing.

I also didn’t guess who the “bad guy” was. There were many possibilities and so much was going on it keeps you on your toes. And I really liked the two female investigators; they were different but complimentary, which I enjoyed.

My only caution is that this book is not for people with weak stomachs. Some of it is brutal. But it is, in my opinion, so worth it.

I highly recommend this book and I look forward to more from this series.
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Unfortunately, this book was one of the few that I just couldn't finish. I nibbled on it for about a week and got half way but I just wasn't interested in the story. Perhaps I will come back to it at some point and read it over again. I did not leave a review as I didn't feel it was fair to review a book I didn't finish.
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It was a awesome book that made look over my shoulders.
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4 stars

 I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

French true-crime writer Alexis' friend Linnea has been murdered in Falkenberg, Sweden. At the same time her body is discovered, a young boy's body is found in Hampstead Heath, London. The two bodies have similar wounds. Is this the work of a serial killer? And what do the crimes have to do with the events that happened in Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1944? Emily, a Canadian criminal profiler on loan to London's Scotland Yard, is tasked with investigating the crimes. Although normally very reserved, Emily decides to allow Alexis to shadow her as she seeks to stop the killer and bring them to justice. 

This was a very good, suspenseful read. It kept my attention and had plenty of twists and turns. I look forward to reading more books in this series.
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I am on the fence about this book.  The characters were presented only superficially, and many were odd and difficult to like.  It was also strange and unbelievable that a civilian would be allowed into the depths of a murder investigation and allowed to participate in interviews and other highly confidentional activities. Apart from the compelling forays into Nazi Germany, I just couldn’t get into this book.
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WOW! This book blew my socks off with all of the interwoven tales. Then there was a twist that I did not see coming (even though looking back, I should have guessed it). I liked the intricate details, the characters, and the locations. Loved this book!
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Block 46 is one of those books that has gotten rave reviews from a blog tour, but fair warning, it is a gruesome book about the serial murders of children.

Taking advantage of the current popularity of Nordic Noir, the book moves back and forth between Sweden and London for the contemporary portion of the novel.  It also moves back and forth in time as the genesis of the present-day child murders has roots in the Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1944.

The  style is choppy--moving from one point of view to another, from place to place, and from past to  present.  The two female protagonists are an interesting combination--acquaintances more than friends.  Emily Roy is a profiler and Alexis Castells is a true crime writer.  Only hints of their backgrounds are given and will no doubt be expanded on in their next outing.

I wasn't convinced by either of the roles of the protagonists, however; Emily's profiler skills are pretty specific, but not always helpful initially in making progress in the case.  Alexis is involved because she was close friends with a woman murdered in the same manner as the children, and since she is, coincidentally, a true crime writer--she is accepted into the investigation. ?

The "project" (the reason for the deaths of the children) goes back to medical experiments in Buchenwald, but the purpose is never explained.  

Not eager to read more by this author as neither the characters nor the plot appealed much to me.

Read in September.

NetGalley/Trafalgar Square Publ.

Crime.  Oct. 1, 2017.  Print length: 300 pages.
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To be honest, I am not sure I really liked this book. Johana Gustawsson's writing was just fine,but I feel she did not develope the two main characters enough.  Alexis and Emily are very interesting but with only hints of their backgrounds leave you somewhat confused and wanting to know more. 

Block 46 combines present day with life at a Nazi Concentration Camp and its aftermath. This is done well and the author keeps you guessing throughout the book.
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This book was provided to me as an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) curtesy of Orenda Books (the publisher) and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Overview:  Linnea Blix, an artist, was found brutally murdered in a Swedish marina closed for the winter season.  Two children with identical mutilations were discovered in London.  Alexis Castells, a true-crime writer and Linnea’s friend, teams up with a forensic profiler, Emily Roy, to investigate this international case.  The story goes back and forth between the present day and the past.  Not only does this case span countries, it seems to span decades.  
My thoughts:

The good:  There were two distinct storylines: one that begins in a German concentration camp, and another one following a modern day murder investigation.  The concentration camp felt raw and powerful; Gustawsson handled the horror and cruelty of the concentration camp masterfully.  She never verged into torture porn, but managed to convey the true brutality in an unflinching manner.  It was in those scenes that I was reminded that sometimes real life is more frightening than fiction. 

Gustawsson has an amazing attention to detail.  Block 46 was a gripping story all the way through the final twist. I loved the extra layers of complexity, such as moving the story back and forth from London to Sweden. She maintained a firm grasp of plot pacing: it was an excellent choice to keep the chapters short. The story moved seamlessly between the different timelines. It kept me engaged and guessing until the end.  

The bad:  I had a really hard time getting into the characters.  I keep thinking that maybe this was the second novel in a series and that I was missing something. I didn’t understand the motivation behind Alexis. I certainly didn’t believe it.   I love mysteries, but the draw for me is in the people, and Block 46 fell short of that.  I wasn’t entirely sure who the main characters were and once I established who there were, I didn’t quite understand their motivations.  The pacing of the characters threw me off — a lot of the information I wanted was too little, too late. By the time I was invested in the plot, I didn’t seem to care too much about the characters, which was a pity because I enjoyed the story.

 I was excited that there were two female protagonists.  Emily seemed consumed by her work, using any means necessary to figure out puzzles.  She was aloof and hard. Alexis was confusing to me.  She had no business being involved in the case beyond a perfunctory questioning.  She was mates with the deceased, but that doesn’t mean she has a role in the investigation. There was no chemistry between the two women.  As the novel progressed, I got the feeling that they were supposed be partners, but only because I was told.  Alexis and Emily were near strangers; they had met over previous work, but I didn’t get the sense that they had kindled anything beyond a passing professional acquaintance. 

Despite my hangup on the characters, I would be willing to read another by Gustawsson; perhaps in the next book, the characters will come to life for me.  I think this is a classic case of “Your Mileage May Vary”: there are certainly readers that will find the story and character so gripping, they won’t set it down. 

Recommend for:  fans of unorthodox police procedurals, and readers who can’t get enough of Scandinavian crime stories.
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Block 46 is a book that spans both time and space.
One storyline follows Erich Ebner and his experiences in Germany's infamous Buchenwald Concentration Camp, during 1944, where we witness the extremes he finds himself willing to go to, with such depraved and dehumanizing events taking place all around him. 

The second storyline takes place is 2014. A young and promising jewelry designer doesn't make her flight from Sweden to showcase her new Cartier collection. Her body is found mutilated, and soon a connection is recognized between her injuries and those sustained by a young boy found dead in London. This is when Emily and Alexis, a Canadian Crime Profiler and a true-crime author team up to unravel the secrets of a madman. 

Block 46 is best described as Historical Fiction meets Detective Novel, running parallel until they culminate into one astounding and surprisingly elegant tale.

Available: October 1, 2017
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Thank you Netgalley and Orenda Books for the eARC.
Reading the many 5-star reviews, I was looking forward to reading Block 46.  Starting with the first chapter, the graphic descriptions of the torture the Nazi perpetrated on their prisoners were brutal enough to make me wonder if this was a book I should read.  Maybe it was the fact my father spent years in a Nazi concentration camp that made it a painful read.  When the focus turns to 2016, with the horrendous death of a female jewelry designer in Sweden, with the exact M.O. as 2 young boys in London, again in minute detail, I knew this wasn't for me, it felt like torture porn. I finished the book hoping to see what other readers saw, but I didn't...nor did I feel anything for the characters.
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4 stars

Alexis Castells a true crime writer receives a frantic call from her friend Alba. She later goes to a presentation party for young jewelry designer Linnea Blix. Linnea is nowhere to be found. Somewhat of a scatterbrain, no one is too worried except for her partner, Peter Templeton.

Alexis, Peter and Alba fly to Falkenberg, Sweden. Linnea was not on any plane to London, nor is she found in her home in Falkenberg. There they are met by Kommissionar Lennart Bergstrom. A body has been found and it is Linnea. 

Interspersed with Linnea’s story is the story of Erich Ebner a prisoner at the German Buchenwald concentration camp in 1944.The cruelty, the abuse and the beatings were a daily occurrence. The inhuman things the guards did to the prisoners were horrific. 

Emily Roy is called in on the case when a young boy was found in London with the same wounds Linnea had on her body. She is a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the RCMP in Canada. She travels to Falkenberg to review Linnea’s case. Is there a serial killer on the loose?

Alexis follows Emily around as she looks further into Linnea’s case. They travel from Sweden to London chasing clues and putting together Emily’s profile. As more bodies fall, the search for the killer intensifies. Emily is almost frantic trying to sort out the profile and Alexis is still just, well, there. 

Emily is searching for clues to the past after having realized that there were two time frames, almost as if there were two killers. The victims started showing up in 1970. A police officer finds an Erich Ebner who was in Buchenwald and who immigrated to Sweden in about 1947 after being released from the camp. This is after Emily also makes the connection between the marks on the arms of the older victims – they form a swastika. She gives the address of where he lived. Kommissionar Bergstrom realizes that he knows not only the house, but who lives there.

What they find in Erich Ebner’s cellar is horrifying. Meanwhile, Alexis is tracing Ebner’s life. What she discovers is a surprise and turns the whole case on its ear, and the surprises keep coming.

Profiler Emily Roy is an awful character. She is too driven, too short with others – downright rude in fact and very unlikeable. I guess I like my characters a little more likeable and lifelike. The plotting was good, but the story itself moved very slowly at first picking up speed along the way. I enjoyed the book. The excerpts about Erich Ebner were better written and very good. The simply awful things those “prisoners” went through is beyond words to describe. I thought Ms. Gustawsson did a good job at that. This is my first book of hers and I will certainly look into her other works. 

I want to thank NetGalley and Trafalgar Square Publishing/Orenda Books for forwarding to me a copy of this book to read.
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In reading the afterthoughts, it explained why Johana was drawn into writing about this concentration camp, since her grandfather had been there.  It was true that the inmates rebelled once the allied troops got there.  What made this book interesting was that Johana utilized a diabolical method to change what happened in the book, you'll have to read it to find out what I mean, but you will. 

The story revolves around the killing of young boys and having them chemically treated to make them into mummies (my word).  But it changed when they killed a women.  Emily was brought in as a profiler and Alexis was brought in because she knew the deceased.  It went back and forth between the 4o's and the current date, so you got to know everyone.  Emily was trapped by the man who killed the boys in London and the woman in Sweden, and was brutally dealt with.  It ends on a happy note, time to read it..
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