Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alex by Pierre Lemaitre

I picked up Alex by Pierre Lemaitre on a whim, being between series. Originally published in French and winner of a 2013 Crime Writers Association award, Alex initially presents as a rather run-of-the-mill kidnap story. The main character has been taken; a reluctant detective is working the case. There is no ransom demand, no missing persons report, no concerned family, one mediocre witness. There are the usual questions about who she is, why she was taken, will she be rescued in time? Things are not looking good for our heroine, but we are confident everything will work out. It always does.

But after 150 pages the plot ceases to be routine and discards the usual formula altogether. The kidnap story is done. Lemaitre opens a new door for the reader, one you never expected to take. Who IS Alex?  I can't say more without releasing spoilers. Sorry, but you will thank me later. Alternating back and forth from different points of view Alex is a very dark and graphic thriller in three acts. The detectives lighten the mood as they battle administrators and bureaucracy. Varied in personalities and quirks, this is the team you would want searching for you.

Alex is also the first title in a the Commandant Camille Verhoeven trilogy, a series that I will now be snatching up.


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