Where can you start when you need to describe this book in effect to encourage someone else to read it? Carefully, because so much can be given away in a review. My other encouragement is simply read it, it will make you stop and think and is certainly a book which should have some more coverage compared to some.
It is thriller and one that will have you on the “edge of your seat”. It alternates between Alex (of the title) who is kidnapped and Camille Verhoeven the rather short detective whose feet do not even reach the floor when sat in a chair who is out to find Alex and catch the kidnapper.
A simple premise, but do not let that fool you as the plot progresses.
We learn about who Alex is and what her story is.
We learn about Camille and more about his personal life and why a kidnap case is bringing back memories.
We learn about the others in the “brigade criminelle”, Louis, the rich well dressed detective, Armand, the tight-fisted detective who simply begs, borrows and steals . As well as Le Guen the man in charge and then the magistrate assigned to the case. It also provides an insight into the workings of the French police force. Assisted ably by a glossary at the front of the book so you can relate it to the British system.
As the story progresses we watch as everything is pieced slowly together only for it all to be ripped apart and started afresh. You want twists and turns in a book, then you get twists and turns in this book.
I kept reading because I had no idea where this book was taking me and I was swept along with the hatred of the characters and I admit readily to actually changing my mind more than once and feel guilty for thinking the worse when you do not know the real story.
It is a rather gruesome book and very graphic in detail, but actually it is not simply there for shock value (although it does indeed shock) it has a point to the overall story it gives weight to what is happening.
The story is cleverly told and complexly plotted and was a breath of fresh air compared to some other over hyped thrillers of late. I forgot so quickly that it was a translation and could barely tell, it does not lose any of the impact that the author was obviously aiming for.
An excellent read.
I admit to being a late comer to thrillers and books of this nature and I have always tended to avoid translations as well in the past – but I am so glad I picked up this book thanks to reading about it on a blog and gave it a go. It was much better than Gone Girl and I was gripped by that too.
I look forward to reading more by Pierre Lemaitre and am intrigued in how the trilogy of books start, as Alex is in fact the second of the set but the first to be translated.
This was the choice for February Book Club – and I think it may well have been a hit from what I can tell from the others. I look forward to discussing it with them.