If you are a fan of Serial Killer Fiction you do not want to miss this one. It’s a little bit Sherlock, a little bit Clarice Starling, a little bit Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Check out my thoughts in my Review of The Red Queen by Juan Gómez-Jurado
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The Red Queen by Juan Gómez-Jurado
Published in English in the US on March 14, 2023 by Minotaur Books. Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review.
Plot Summary for the Red Queen by Juan Gómez-Jurado
Antonia Scott has a gifted forensic mind, an ability to reconstruct crimes and solve baffling murders. But after a personal trauma, she’s refused to continue her work or even leave her apartment.
Jon Gutierrez, a police officer in Bilbao, is disgraced, suspended, and about to face criminal charges. But then he is unexpectedly offered a chance to salvage his career.
He’s approached by a secretive organization that works in the shadows to direct criminal investigations of a highly sensitive nature. All he has to do is succeed where many others have failed: convince a recalcitrant Antonia to come out of her self-imposed retirement, protecting her and helping her investigate a new, terrifying case.
The case is a macabre, ritualistic murder—a teen-aged boy from a wealthy family whose body was found without a drop of blood left in it. But the murder is just the start. A high-ranking executive and daughter of one of the richest men in Spain is kidnapped, a crime which is tied to the previous murder.
Behind them both is a hidden mastermind with even more sinister plans. And the only person with a chance to see the connections, solve the crimes and successfully match wits with the killer before tragedy strikes again…is Antonia Scott.
What Else Has Juan Gómez-Jurado Written?
His work is new to me. He’s a journalist and one of the three most successful contemporary Spanish authors. You can read more about him here.
He has written nine international bestselling novels: God’s Spy, The Moses Expedition, The Traitor’s Emblem, The Legend of the Thief, Scar, and the Red Queen series (Red Queen, Loba Negra (Black Wolf) and Rey Blanco (White King). He is also the author of the young adult science-fiction series, Alex Colt, Space Cadet.
Review of The Red Queen by Juan Gómez-Jurado
I love thrillers set in other countries. I’ve watched a lot of European thrillers (like Scandinavian Noir streaming shows and the Polish version of Harlan Coben on Netflix). I’ve also read thrillers and mysteries in translation (like those written by Katrine Engberg, Anne Marie Hancock and Camilla Lackberg).
I wasn’t familiar with Juan Gómez-Jurado, but I am now a fan.
Like Stieg Larsson, I think Juan Gómez-Jurado is a big thriller fan himself. I suspect he’s read a lot of Serial Killer books. I’ll discuss his influences more in my Spoiler Discussion Post for the Red Queen, but I see hints of Thomas Harris, and maybe a bit of Jeffrey Deaver.
I also see a lot of Sherlock Holmes. Crime-solving pairs, and often odd couple pairs, are a hallmark of mysteries and thrillers: Holmes and Watson, Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs, Mikael Blomkvist and Lizabeth Salander, Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott, Nero Wolf and Archie Goodwin.
Antonia seemed especially Holmesian to me. Not only is she half-British, she’s a certified genius who was trained by a super-secret EU Interpol-like agency. She’s also hooked on pills that help her filter outside stimuli so she can focus on her case. Didn’t Holmes have that “seven percent solution” that he injected himself with?
There were unexpected moments of humor in The Red Queen, which I always appreciate in a thriller. Antonia is a pretty serious person but Jon is a bit more comical and the narration, which is a multi-POV style from the perspective of five characters, also has a few ominisicent jokes.
There were also some good twists. Being a reader of Thomas Harris and Jeffrey Deaver myself, I anticipated a couple of them.
The Red Queen is not a super-graphic book, if you are squeamish. I mean, it’s NOT a cozy by a million miles, but it’s not Karin Slaughter or Thomas Harris level graphic.
The Red Queen had resolution, but is clearly the first book in the series and left some questions unanswered … and me wanting more.
Fortunately, there will be a streaming series on Netflix (more details in my upcoming Spoiler Discussion Post for The Red Queen) and I’m also hoping that the Black Wolf and the White King are published in the U.S. soon. Or I’ll have to improve my Spanish!
If you love thrillers with crime-fighting duos, if you love the classic cat and mouse game between the serial killer and the detectives, if you are looking for a book that you’ll find hard to put down, I definitely recommend The Red Queen.
If you’ve read it, let me know in comments what you thought!
I LOVED this book! The characters were dynamic and flawed and yet you root for them. I had such a hard time putting it down. It is exciting to have more of this series to look forward to. The audiobook, narrated by the amazing Scott Brick, had one of the best author interviews at the end as well.
Thanks so much for letting me know. Now I’m tempted to request the audiobook. Not everyone on my Goodreads feed has enjoyed it. I guess books in translation aren’t for everyone, but I thought it was so gripping, funny, and even though I saw one of the twists coming because of another author I’ve read, I really loved it. Will have the spoiler discussion up by the end of the week!
Thanks for this recommendation, Jen! I’ve got it lined up already. Btw, I just finished my first Loreth Anne White book, The Maid’s Diary. 5 stars!
Hi Lori! I’ll check that one out. I’m not familiar with the author.
I do like serial killer fiction so that gives me something to think about.
That sounds like it would be a great book.