Thursday, February 20, 2014

Alex by Pierre Lemaitre - REVIEW

In this gripping, fiendishly plotted detective novel, Alex Prévost is kidnapped, savagely beaten, and suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned industrial building in a wooden cage—she is running out of time. Her abductor/torturer appears to desire only one thing: to watch her die. Will hunger, thirst, or the rats get her first?

One witness has filed a report with the police, but apart from this insubstantial bit of evidence Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven has nothing to go on: no suspect, no other leads. To understand what has happened to Alex, the detective—a man with a tragic past but extraordinary abilities as an investigator—must first understand more about the girl whose life he is trying to save. As he slowly uncovers the story of the girl’s unusual childhood, he comes to realize she is no ordinary victim. She is beautiful, yes, but also extremely tough and resourceful—and unconventional in the extreme. 

As the manhunt is drawing to its conclusion, the case shifts in the most shocking way. Before long, saving Alex’s life will be the least of Commandant Verhoeven’s considerable challenges.

Praise for this novel:

“What begins as a search for a missing person soon becomes a beguiling series of investigations linked only by Alex, a Parisian version of Lisbeth Salander. Camille, volatile, brilliant and just under 5ft, is an equally riveting figure.”—John Dugdale, Sunday Times
“The winner of countless French crime-writing prizes, Lemaître is far too canny to join the ranks of thriller authors who merely revel in disturbing details and gory crimes. Where another novel would have finished, Alex is just beginning, and the book moves from read-as-fast-as-you-can horror to an intricately plotted race to a dark truth … There's humour here, and characters to return to, but really Alex is about thrills. And as the novel barrels triumphantly towards its unexpected but satisfying conclusion, it's in this respect that it deliver.”—Alison Flood, The Guardian
“Fascinating, horrifying, not to be missed.”—Rolling Stone (Italy)
“Both a psychological thriller and a police procedural, it enthralls at every stage of its unpredictability . . . Grippingly original.”— Marcel Berlins, The Times
“A weaver of dark and disturbing crime fiction . . . Lemaître brings his stinging, bitter story to a genuinely unexpected conclusion. We are not in the comfortable world of Inspector Maigret here—this is harsh, fierce crime writing with a Gauloise tinge. It would not be out of place filmed in black-and-white by the late, lamented Francois Truffaut, who loved crime tales like this. ”—Geoffrey Wansell, The Daily Mail
“Lemaître has achieved a milestone with his new novel: half mystery, half thriller, 100 percent successful.”—Jean-Christophe Buisson, Le Figaro
“Divided into three distinct acts [Alex] offers an intriguing structure … Lemaitre is not only providing a fascinating variation of the traditional crime narrative but also a commentary on the genre itself. Hailed as the most important crime novel in translation since Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Alex similarly features as an intriguingly flawed feminist heroine bent on vengeance, and will likely prove a sensation of the crime fiction year.”—Declan Burke, The Irish Times
“Exhilarating, literary, Hitchcockian  . . . This new investigation of Commandant Camille Verhoeven resumes with the sense of suspense, the art of the unexpected twist, the play on emotions that so seduced us.”—Le Monde
“Hypnotic . . . [a] remarkably determined and dangerous young woman—a woman who admittedly makes Lisbeth Salander look like Mary Poppins.”—Raven Crime Reads
“A thriller that grapples with the codes of murderous insanity. The author offers us an infernal and unpredictable plot, taking the art of suspense and terror to the limit.”—Ici Paris
“Sex, murder. Strategy, insanity. [Lemaître] isn't cautious with his scenario, dissolving the victim-executioner relationship in sulfuric acid. ”—Alibi
“A tour de force.”—L'Humanité

“This is a gripping thriller and crime novel.”—Destination France"
From Amazon:
Upon winning the prestigious 2013 Crime Writers Association International Dagger Award, the judges praised Alex by saying, “An original and absorbing ability to leash incredulity in the name of the fictional contract between author and reader . . . A police procedural, a thriller against time, a race between hunted and hunter, and a whydunnit, written from multiple points of view that explore several apparently parallel stories which finally meet.

My Take:
4 Stars!
This book has just been translated from French into English. It was a huge hit/Best Seller in France/Europe. His writing is so good, it has made it over here to the US, and we are very lucky to have this police procedural of a thriller of a book!
Just a little warning - this book is "not" for the faint of heart from the very beginning! Yes, the description does says 'rats', so . . . but you can get through it, right? I did! It was non-stop action that had me clicking the button on my Kindle relentlessly. 
Alex Prevost is kidnapped, and she is hung from the ceiling inside of a wooden crate just dangling there. What is the abductor going to do to her? He disappears. She doesn't know what is going on. She is left alone hanging there. Will she eventually fall? Can she escape? Will the rats get to her before she can get away from them? She tries and tries. She is on a rampage to save herself.
This book is really hard to write a review about because if I tell you anymore, about the story itself, I am going to give away all the great twists and turns that happen immediately, and I don't want to ruin it for you. It wouldn't even be spoilers, it's the story itself. It's not a story you can write to much about without ruining it for your enjoyment. There is one huge twist shortly after the beginning you would NEVER expect, and that is the best part! It just gets the rest of this book going!
I can tell you Commandment Camille Verboeven is just adorable as a character! Oh, this man knows his stuff, don't get me wrong there, but I loved this guy! He is a little, not even a 5 foot man, and at times he could not even see over counter tops and other things, and he takes some heat for it. I really felt for this guy. I really related to this character, and you will, too. He just sounded like a cute, adorable little man. I dare you not to fall in love with him! He has an assistant helping him with the case, and even he gives him some grief over his heighth. Poor guy.
This book has so many twists and turns, you'll be flipping the pages non-stop just like I did! I guarantee it! 
The investigation is so revealing, as this book goes on we learn more and more about the 'why' Alex was abducted and what happens.
My only difficulty I had with this book was some of the translation. I got lost in a few places, however, the version of this book I read was the galley from NetGalley, so it was not the final version of this book, and since I do not own the final copy, I don't have it to compare with the galley. I was lost in a few places, and the author tries to explain in several places just what translation he is trying to get across. It is helpful, yet at times I still felt a little lost. That is the only difficulty I had with this book.
As for anymore about this book, this is one thriller of a book you MUST read if you love psychological thrillers/serial killers at their BEST!
I do hope to get to see more books written by this author. I will definitely read them!
This is one of those books you will not forget anytime soon! 
I received this book for FREE from the Publisher, MacLehose Press through Netgalley in exchange to read and write a review about it. It is NOT required for this review to be either positive or negative, but of my own honest opinion. "Free" means I was provided with ZERO MONIES to read this book nor to write this review, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Alex: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy (The Cmdt Camille Verhoeven Tri) by Pierre Lemaitre
ebook: $12.99
print: $11.39

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