Friday On My Mind is the 5th series book written by husband and wife writing team, Nicci Gerard and Sean French. Also known as Nicci French. Yes, it's another in the ongoing saga about Dr. Frieda Klein, psychotherapist and most awesome character. This book has just recently been published in the UK. I have no idea when it will come out in the US. Naturally, I couldn't wait.
I'm a little torn as to what to say exactly about the Friday entry to the series. I liked it...I did, but....it isn't my favorite. How does that happen, do you think? You have characters or settings that you enjoy so very much. You love reacquainting yourself with all the aspects of the series that set your little heart tingling. And then, well, not exactly a letdown, but just not as much as you hoped for. But don't let me put you off. Let's talk about the story.
A body has been discovered floating in the Thames. It's a man and police are trying to identify this individual. He has a hospital band around his wrist. It says 'Dr. F. Klein'. Naturally, the authorities first think that the man is this Dr. Klein. Very soon, they realize that Dr. F. Klein is our own Frieda and so the question is first of all, who is the man, and then, where is the woman who belongs to the hospital band?
It doesn't take long before Frieda is indeed the focus of the police inquiry and the prime suspect. Instead of our usual group of officers, we are introduced to DCI Sarah Hussein and DC Glen Bryant. DCI Hussein is briefed early on in the investigation by Commissioner Crawford regarding the Met's prior dealings with Dr. Klein. He also has her talk to Dr. Hal Bradford in order to get the 'official' scoop on Frieda's mental status. Now, we know from previous books that Crawford and Bradford are not fans of Frieda - not fans, not friends, not rational about her at all. Sarah Hussein, who seems to be an able police officer, is skillfully pointed toward Frieda and warned off of all of Frieda's friends and colleagues.
What does our intrepid Dr. Klein do? She puts all her clients on hold, closes up her house, and disappears, with the help of a few individuals. Frieda knows that she will have to find out what happened to this murder victim herself. She can't involve her usual group because all of them are at risk of being charged with obstruction and arrested. She especially can't consult with DCI Malcolm Karlsson, because any contact would put his career on the line or end it. She isn't sure whether this is the work of her own personal nemesis, Dean Reave, but she needs to find out.
I was a big fan of the previous book, Thursday's Children. It took the reader back to Frieda's hometown and to an incident that had haunted her for many years. Even though it was, for the most part, set outside of London, it brought Frieda closer to many of her friends. They persisted in helping her. And she had to let them. This book again sees her faithful friends helping her, often at great risk to themselves.
However, I felt it was a little scattered in focus. Frieda goes from place to place trying to learn more about the crime and then she seems to not be as intuitive as usual when information is right in front of her. She is hiding from the police, but she keeps showing up at places where she might be seen and recognized. And I would sigh. I guess part of my disappointment is that we usually get further in each book with untangling Frieda's own character and that didn't seem to happen here. I really didn't feel like I understood any more about any of our usual group, except maybe to reinforce how much I dislike the commissioner. I'm hoping that he will get his comeuppance sooner rather than later.
I did think I figured out the solution to the crime and the murderer and was turning pages rapidly at the end of the book to see if I was right. A few threads were left open for upcoming books. There is a man who shows up a couple of times at police headquarters that seems to know a lot about Frieda. We're not sure what part he will play. Will I be eagerly anticipating the Saturday book? Absolutely!! I'm not sure how long the series will continue, but I'll keep reading.