Competition published on July 1, 2016.
There was a time when British crime-writing fans could shift from the gentle Agatha Christie-inspired style to the hard-boiled US style of Jim Thomson and Ross MacDonald without missing a beat. Each did what it said on the jacket and you knew what you were getting. But alongside these distinct genres there has always been a continental tradition which has offered crime fans other, perhaps subtler, pleasures. In recent decades, this continental tradition has exploded in the UK market, most notably with the massively-successful Scandinavians but the Scandi writers aren’t having it all their own way.
The French writer Pierre Lemaitre is relatively under-celebrated thus far but thanks to the Frank Wynne translations from the MacLehose Press, UK readers can now enjoy thrillers which contain scenes which, in the words of one reviewer, are “too disturbingly awful to read, let alone imagine.” Readers of a gentle disposition might need to look elsewhere because Lemaitre is brilliant at constructing novel scenarios which are perfectly-pitched to enliven your worst nightmares. The horrific kidnapping scene from his first novel Alex is a case in point and not a bad place to start if you want to sample the Lemaitre style.
For those already familiar with his books, his latest, Blood Wedding, will not disappoint. It’s a gripping standalone psychological thriller about marriage, manipulation and murder. His protagonist, Sophie, is haunted by the things she can’t remember – and visions from the past she will never forget. One morning, she wakes to find that the little boy in her care is dead. She has no memory of what happened. And whatever the truth, her side of the story is no match for the evidence piled against her. Her only hiding place is a new identity, a wedding, a marriage: a new life, with a man she has met online. That’s an ingenious set-up which far surpasses many of the excessively-contrived plotlines of safer UK crime novels.
Lemaitre delivers a masterclass in narrative, fraught with tension, with a body blow of a plot twist which will further cement his reputation as the author leading the way in new Noir.
Bert Wright, Editor – The Nudge List
Pierre Lemaitre © Richard Dumas
Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre is published by MacLehose Press as a £12.99 hbk on 7th July
We have 3 copies of the book to give away!
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The Competition is closed.
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