Waiting for Wednesday is the third book in a series by Nicci French (fun fact, Nicci French is a pseudonym for husband and wife writers Nicci Gerrard and Sean French). The series follows psychotherapist Dr Freida Klein as the main character. Now I haven’t read the first two (Blue Monday and Tuesday’s Gone) but Waiting for Wednesday does still work as a stand-alone book. French includes some details from the previous books so as a reader you’re kept in the loop and the story (which I’ll explain shortly!) is a stand-alone story; a new murder, new characters, but the same investigative team. However, I did still wish that I’d read the first two before picking up this one. It was obvious when reading it that I’d missed a book (it was a charity shop pick up and loaned to me from a friend, so I had no idea when I started reading that it was the third in a series), but now that I’ve read it I don’t think I could go back and read from the start because I know what happens…
Nicci French is well known (are well known? There’s two of them, this is hard) for writing psychological thrillers. The first Nicci French book was written in 1997 so they’ve been successful for over 20 years and it’s not hard to see why. I haven’t read any other books by French, so I can’t comment, but to me Waiting for Wednesday is a textbook psychological thriller; mystery, danger, cliff hanger chapter endings… The seemingly perfect suburban housewife, Ruth Lennox, murdered in her home and looks like a robbery gone wrong. However, Ruth has secrets and it soon becomes clear that this was no robbery, this was cold blooded murder. Alongside the Ruth Lennox storyline we meet James Fearby, a journalist investigating the disappearances of several young women, none of whom are being investigated by the police, after he successfully helped to free a man wrongfully convicted of murder. He’s looking for a pattern and a murderer. These two storylines run parallel and I couldn’t help but wonder how they were going to come together as there appeared to be no link between the two for the majority of the book. Freida also seems to only be on the periphery of the Ruth Lennox murder due to her nieces relationship with Ruth’s son Ted. It seems she used to be an advisor for the police, but things happened in previous books meaning that her relationships with the chief and certain other investigators are somewhat strained. So she’s not heavily involved in the investigation and nor does she know James Fearby. So the main character isn’t really a part of the two main storylines? She is also on a mission of her own after a potential patient makes a statement that resonates with her and she finds herself on a kind of quest to uncover the origins of it. I did find this a little difficult to believe; one tiny little seemingly insignificant detail in the middle of a fake story sets her off on a particular path, one that I won’t elaborate on cause, you know, spoilers.
To me, this book was an easy read. Written in third person from the point of view of several characters the reader has insight into their thoughts and motivations and all characters are put together very well. Frieda comes across as a strong female character who has been traumatised by past events and you can really feel her struggle back to finding who she is. I do have some criticism though; good authors don’t write anything just for the sake of it, every sentence is carefully curated and there is always a reason for every piece of information. This is what I love about a good ‘whodunnit’ type book and this one was no exception (for one of the mysteries in this book I guessed the twist because of a seemingly throw away comment fairly early on), but there were a couple of things that kept coming up and I had no idea why. At the end of most chapters from Ruth’s point of view there’s a message from her overseas partner Sandy. I began to wonder if he actually existed or if he was going to be some kind of figment of Frieda’s imagination… spoiler alert, he is real. So, I’m not sure why these messages were there. I guess they served to demonstrate the gradual breakdown of their relationship and Frieda’s move to isolating herself from those who cared about her, but I felt like this could be done another way. The isolation was shown in other ways anyway! There’s also this long running story about her bath… This is apparently used to re-introduce Josef, Frieda’s friend (who must have been in previous books), who is pivotal to the story, but while reading it I kept thinking the bath was going to be pivotal to the story. That’s how much it came up!
All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was an easy read and it met all of my expectations and I was satisfied by the ending. I liked Frieda as a main character and I do wish I knew more about her past traumas as I think it would help to fully form the character in my mind, but I think it’s too late to go back and read the previous books. Will I read the next books? Maybe. I have a few other books on my TBR list that are going to take priority over the next few months. But having read a lot of really heavy books (emotionally heavy, not physically… although A Little Life was both!) this year, Waiting for Wednesday was a welcome break. So maybe I’ll read Thursday’s Child next time I’m looking for an easy read. I feel like I know what I’d be getting and it wouldn’t disappoint.
What’s your go-to easy read?