For Frieda Klein, therapist and woman managing in her solo existence in London, thoughts of the home she left behind in Braxton twenty-three years before have now intruded upon her, as she faces the young teenage girl, the daughter of an old school acquaintance from Braxton, who has confided a horrific secret. Something that arouses all of Frieda’s worst memories.
Young Becky has told about her rape a few months before, and how her mother, Maddie, did not believe her. Now Maddie is aware that Frieda knows the secret, and this only enrages her. Her feelings of intense dislike and fear are brought to the fore. For Frieda, the long-buried rage aroused in her by the release of this secret is like a strong gravitational pull into the past. Something Becky said to Frieda reawakened that long ago moment when she herself had been raped at sixteen, and reminded her of her own mother’s disbelief.
Can the past be repeating itself? Then, as if to ante up the stakes, Becky is found hanged in her room, presumably suicide. But the more Frieda learns, upon her return to Braxton, the more she is convinced that the man who raped her also raped Becky…and others in between. And that he has also killed.
Thursday’s Children is the story of the past, the present, and how the secrets come back to haunt us. The title also symbolizes the name of a musical group playing in Braxton on the night of Frieda’s rape. Can Frieda discover who has been raping and murdering young girls, and if she does, will the police even believe her? Her experiences with the police in this town have been less than satisfactory.
But she has her own occasional colleague, DCI Malcolm Karlsson…and seemingly the shadowy stalker presence of presumed dead Dean Reeve, that nobody believes is there–except, perhaps, Karlsson–and as time passes, her belief in his malevolent/protective presence is reinforced by events.
This fourth novel in the series is also populated by familiar faces from the previous novels, like Josef, the handyman and occasional cook; Reuben, a therapist colleague; and her niece Chloe. For the first time, we meet her mother, Dr. Juliet Klein, who is a hard, ironic, and cold presence in Frieda’s past, and with whom she now must interact. Will the ghosts of the past finally be put to rest? Will the secrets be unleashed and the perpetrators punished? And, in the end, will Frieda find peace? Five stars.