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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.2 out of 5
5 Stars
14 reviews have 5 stars
4 Stars
12 reviews have 4 stars
3 Stars
5 reviews have 3 stars
2 Stars
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1 Star
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All Book Reviews

  • Fantastic debut

    When I heard Johana read parts of Block 46 and talk so passionately about what she had written at the recent Orenda Roadshow in Leeds, I knew I had to read this book. This is a haunting tale split between a current day murder investigation and a harrowing depiction of life for a prisoner of war in Germany. This POW wasn’t any “normal” POW, he was German and he was branded a traitor. The author’s research into and personal connection with such a horrific period in history really shines through in the writing. I felt shocked at the treatment and torment POWs were subjected to whilst imprisoned. I felt immersed in wartime Germany suffering the same horrifying time. This is such a chilling and thought provoking part to the story. As for the present day part to this novel, I took daily literary trips to the rather chilly Swedish coast to follow the investigation of a jewellery designer. You may ask what does that have to do with a prisoner of war camp, well I guess you have to read Block 46 to find out the connection but I will tell you the climax to this story left me stunned! Goosebumps and shocked hand over mouth!! This is a totally compelling read – it slowed my reading right down so I could be entirely encapsulated in the story. Most books I read are ones I can read whilst my children are playing or the TV is on. Johana’s book was not one of those; I couldn’t pick it up and put it down, I needed to finish chapters before I could put my kindle to sleep. As I read the parts the author had read over a month previous, I could hear her beautiful French voice reading and singing to me. I really wish my A-Level French was up to scratch as I would love to read this story in its natural form. But unfortunately it is not, however as with many translations, Block 46 has been done beautifully and seamlessly. This is an amazing debut from the author and I understand there is more to come from the pairing who investigated the present day murder which I will definitely be queuing up to read! I can’t thank Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books and Anne Cater enough for my copy of Block 46. Johana Gustawsson is someone to watch!

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  • interesting

    a very interesting concept. would recommend and a good thriller.

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  • Decent Nordic Noir

    Interesting central characters, though some of the secondary characters are rather crudely developed. Took me a while to get the hang of the story darting back and forth between now and the second world war. Writing is OK - always difficult to tell in translation. Plot kept sweeping along nicely.

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  • Unbelievably good!

    I'd read some fabulous reviews of "Block 46" written by Johana Gustawsson recently and it had been recommended to me on many an occasion, so when I won this book in a Twitter competition I was over the moon that I could read and review it for myself! After reading the first captivating chapter set in Buchenwald Concentration Camp I had to pause to contemplate exactly what it was I was reading. Brutal, barbaric, harrowing, disturbing - definitely not for the faint hearted - I found it gripping from the start to the climatic conclusion. "Block 46" is a compelling serial killer story that's dark and twisted - easily sending chills up your spine - with totally engaging characters that have been translated from the original French version flawlessly. It's a truly thought provoking read that's set within a superbly crafted plot and indisputably keeps you guessing until the brilliantly terrifying end that has you shocked at the clever and ingenious twist! We are half way through the year and I have already pencilled in the impressive "Block 46" for my book of the year - it truly blew me away - and it will be hard pushed to be beaten! I imagine there must have been some very gruelling research carried out for this story, especially from her own personal family resources. The author's note at the end really got to me too - my great uncle was a survivor of a Japanese prisoner of war camp and the Burma railway and I totally empathise with her thoughts and feelings to the tragic and heartbreaking conditions prisoners in all camps were subjected to. This is the first book I have read by the outstanding Orenda Books and I know it won't be my last - an amazing 5 stars (wish I could award more) for a highly recommended and unforgettable book that I will definitely be reading again!

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  • Block46

    Excellent I loved the changes in timelines each story fascinating in itself . I loved the twist at the end. A powerful tribute to the concentration camps lest we ever forget. Superb yet horrific plot

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