The Recently Read posts are not typical book reviews. As a writer, I do not believe I should be reviewing the hard work of other writers. These posts are simply books I have recently read and enjoyed and will share with you. They will not always be crime books as I am trying to widen my reading selection. I hope you enjoy some of these with me.
Alex by Pierre Lemaitre
In kidnapping cases, the first few hours are crucial. After that, the chances of being found alive go from slim to nearly none. Alex Prévost – beautiful, resourceful, tough – may be no ordinary victim, but her time is running out.
Commandant Camille Verhoeven and his detectives have nothing to go on: no suspect, no lead, rapidly diminishing hope. All they know is that a girl was snatched off the streets of Paris and bundled into a white van.
The enigma that is the fate of Alex will keep Verhoeven guessing until the bitter, bitter end. And before long, saving her life will be the least of his worries.
I absolutely loved this book. I’m not sure what I expected when I picked it up, maybe another crime fiction novel, but for me it was in another league altogether. It’s a difficult book to give your thoughts on without giving away plot spoilers, the twists and turns in it are so dramatic. They are also incredibly well executed and well written. Alex is a translated novel, originally written in French. The translation is fantastic.
The protagonist, Camille, and his two colleagues, Louis and Armand, all had my attention. Characterisation was so well done. My personal favourite was Armand. A fairly minor character but brilliantly fleshed out and real. The French judicial system is completely different to the UK and US system so the characters have a different meaning, but you easily get the gist and it doesn’t stop the flow of the story because it is the characters who pull it along and not the procedure.
As for the actual crime parts of the book, you need a strong stomach. I usually do but there were some descriptions that made even my stomach wince and waver. It is done well though and doesn’t seem to be placed there just to test your stomach strength, and it’s matched by wonderful clean writing and pace.
Alex is shocking, absorbing and a massive page turner. I tweeted about it as I was reading and it was suggested that it be put up for the Crime book club vote, so expect to see it on the list as it’s been nominated. Whether you are part of the book club or not, vote for it or not, I do suggest that if you are a crime fiction reader, you put this on your to-read list fairly quickly.
I’m looking forward to reading more by Lemaitre and won’t hesitate to buy his next book.