Series: The Brigade Criminalle #1
Author: Pierre Lemaitre
Published: May 2016
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime, Adult.
Average Goodreads rating: 3.93
Pierre Lemaitre is known for writing crime fiction with an alchemical mix of white-knuckle intensity, fearlessly unconventional plotting, and psychologically intricate character development. In Irene Lemaitre ingeniously uses five contemporary and classic literary murder scenes–from William McIlvanney”s Laidlaw to Bret Easton Ellis”s American Psycho–as the framework on which to craft a diabolical prequel to his Crime Writers” Association International Dagger Award-winning novel Alex.
Camille Verhoeven, whose diminutive stature belies his fierce intensity, has reached an unusually content (for him) place in life. he is respected by his colleagues and he and his lovely wife, Irene, are expecting their first child.
But when a new murder case hits his desk–a double torture-homicide that”s so extreme that even the most seasoned officers are horrified-Verhoeven is overcome with a sense of foreboding.
As links emerge between the bloody set-piece and at least one past unsolved murder, it becomes clear that a calculating serial killer is at work. The press has a field day, taking particular pleasure in putting Verhoeven under the media spotlight.
Then Verhoeven makes a breakthrough discovery: the murders are modeled after the exploits of serial killers from classic works of crime fiction.
The media circus reaches a fever pitch when the modus operandi of the killer, dubbed “The Novelist,” is revealed. Worse, the Novelist has taken to writing taunting letters to the police, emphasizing that he will stop leaving any clues behind unless Verhoeven remains on the case.
For reasons known only to the killer, the case has become personal. With more literature–inspired murders surfacing, Verhoeven enlists the help of an eccentric bookseller and a professor specializing in crime fiction to try to anticipate his adversary”s next move.
[First of all, sorry for that long ass synopsis! Damn you goodreads! Also I cheated a bit, I didn’t put the entire synopsis because there are some points that are better left cleared, do I explain myself at all?? So don’t go to goodreads!!] I read this book originally in spanish and I reviewed it properly in spanish too [here], but I wanted to do an english mini review for all of those english speakers out there, because this book is really deserving of all the hype it can get! 🙂 😉
Whooaaa!! Astonishing! That’s how I felt when I was done with this book, well that and completely horrified! This was my first encounter with Pierre Lemaitre and I am 100% sure it won’t be the last because I was amazed by the power he had to make me cringe and also to surprise me!
Lemaitre did a great job, as plot construction goes. I’d never before seen something like this, the twists he pulled off his sleeve… well, they left me speechless! So let me say, that the less you know the better, the more you will enjoy the whole thing! 😉
This is a procedural novel that follows an investigative team, but mainly our protagonist Camille Verhoeven, as they try to discover who is the disturbed mind that is behind the horrific crimes. There’s one very interesting fact, the crimes are based on published novels of the same genre including the hyped American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, so what is there not to love bookworms?? The plot basically keeps getting better, darker and even more twisted. As things in the investigation keep getting tangled, with more cases coming to light, things back home don’t get better for our Camille, in fact they get greyer as time goes by. This looks and feels like a cat and mouse game. I wasn’t even trying to guess what had been going on all this time, and trying to guess who the culprit was, because I decided I should enjoy the ride and forget about everything else. I think I hit the spot with my decision and I encourage you to do the same if you are anything like me. Enjoy your ride, enjoy all of the players you will get introduced to and you will piece things together, slowly but steadier.
Twists appear to be obligatory in thrillers so don’t think this one hasn’t any, in fact it has one of the most creative (if not the most) ones I’ve read till date! Let’s say by the time everything got revealed I was mesmerized and I didn’t know what I’d read till that moment, original, disturbing and partly toyed-with is how I felt and I loved it!!
Is it wrong if I say that I felt admiration for our culprit?? I mean that person was completely disturbed and her attitude to seeking attention was… a bit pathetic?¿ But that didn’t take away the talent inside.
This turned out to be a hell of an appetizer as Camille’s adventure goes! I needed a break after finishing this one because it wasn’t easy… and as curious I was about what happens next, I wasn’t prepared for this new depth that we were about to get embarked on.
I was curios about this noir story but I didn’t have expectations per se. I was just curious and I ended up sick to my stomach and captivated. Yes, that combination is possible and is what I got from this experience.
So very much recommendable!! I cannot stress this enough! But of course this isn’t for the sweet and tender-hearted! The crimes were described to the letter and they weren’t simple for hard to even read about! All in all I still think this is a MUST for every thriller seeker out there!