The first book in this French crime trilogy. A little slow to start but I needn’t have worried because this story picked up pace as it followed the Police investigation into a series of murders which appeared to mimic classic crime stories.
We are introduced to Commandant Camille Verhoeven the central character in this trio of crime thrillers. An intelligent and distinctive Police Detective, Camille relentlessly leads his team in pursuing the murderer while struggling with media coverage of the horrific crimes, reporting to his superiors and being available to his heavily pregnant wife. These books are not for the faint hearted, the crimes are gruesome and described in graphic detail although not in a gratuitous way, but this may not be to everyone’s liking – be warned!
This first book was a little complicated to follow at times, there were leads to follow and I had to check back occasionally, personally I like to be clear exactly what is going on. This book has been translated from French to English and so there are differences between the 2 countries’ Police and investigative systems which took some familiarising with. Plus there was a twist at the end that requires the reader to adjust their perception of the entire book – almost making it worthy of a re read in my opinion, but this does contribute I think to the confusion at times.
That said Pierre Lemaitre is a superb crime writer and master of the plot twist. I read Blood Wedding last year and rated it as one of my top books of the year. This book therefore had some high standards to live up to and it did not disappoint. The books were published in France; Irene (2006), Alex (2011), Camille (2012), curiously Alex was the first to be translated into English and published in Great Britain, Irene then followed. I am reading the books in the order they were written and Alex is set several years later than Irene and there are several references made to the previous story. That said these are great crime novels and could be read as standalones, as is the case with many great books.
I will be reviewing Alex and Camille on here shortly.