Danielle on Alex by Pierre Lemaitre
Trigger Warning: Sexual assault, graphic murder.
As you know, Dan and I are book people. We have a lot of books, and we keep getting more books. As a result you would not be incorrect if you said that our bookshelves are a situation.
The books on the lower right hand corner are quite easy to miss, especially if they have an unassuming grey spine and a one word title. Like this one.
Part of me is sad that I didn't discover this novel sooner. Another part of me is thrilled that our shelves continue to contain yet-unfound treasure, and let me tell you: this is a treasure. A disturbing treasure, but a treasure nonetheless.
Alex is split into three acts. Act I begins with a brutal, violent kidnapping in Paris. A police detective, Camille Verhoeven, is assigned to the case against his will; he lost his wife and their unborn child in a kidnapping that ended with his wife's murder, and he is determined not to stay on this case.
However, once he is in, he commits and is determined to find the missing woman, who's identity is unknown to him. Due to the novel's construction, however, she is known to us.
Or IS she?
It's in Acts II and III that things get ... um, crazy. Lemaitre is the master of plot twists. I can't say much more than that without giving things away, and I do NOT want to ruin this thrill-ride of a novel for you. Let me just say this: people in this novel are not what they seem. You will find yourself not knowing who deserves your sympathy, and then questioning what you think you know about justice.
This book is so tightly constructed, and the plot twists so carefully put together, that I read it twice. The first time was a roller-coaster. The second time, I read it for the clues that were there the whole time, but that only only became the clear indicators that they are once you understand what is happening and what HAS happened.
After I finished Alex I discovered that it is part of a trilogy. While I fully intend to read the other two books, I would argue that if you only wanted to read this? It stands alone quite well. You don't need the book that comes before or after to have a solid understanding of this novel or to thoroughly enjoy it.
(You have to read this. It's SO good.)
If you want to read Lemaitre's Camille Verhoeven series in order, the titles are:
They are available at bookstores and Amazon.