I received this novel as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
I received an ARC of Pierre Lemaitre’s novel, Alex for review and after reading the first chapter, I was enthralled. This novel follows the lives of Commandant Camille (actually a male detective, not female) and Alex (a woman caught up in a twisted web of the most terrible wrongdoings). This novel took me on a ride through France with its spectacular descriptions of place and time. The author is wonderful at weaving words in a way that make you “see” what is happening…and trust me, there are moments in this book that you wish you couldn’t “see”. I felt the pain and the anguish and just when I thought it was done…there is more surprise to the amount of pain and anguish one can feel. Many times in this novel I thought I had it figured out and was proven wrong time and time again. The author is masterful at creating a story that bends corners without so much as a blinker, or warning. I read for hours in one sitting, hoping that I’d be right at least once. Sadly, I was defeated.
Alex has so much depth to her character that you feel that you could drown in the wrongness of your feelings towards her. You want her to win, then you want her dead, then you want her to succeed…then sadly, you want her vindicated. Camille is the super sleuth along on this ride with you. He feels what you feel but also gives you small nuggets into who he is as a person by his dealings with those around him. I found him quite admirable and likeable even though in the story, he was a difficult friend and colleague.
This novel was translated beautifully from French into English and I wouldn’t have known it without being told. The author has won many awards for his writing and it shows in his book, Alex, that he has the skill and patience to bring a story alive in just the right amount of time. I liked that there was a glossary in the rear of the book to help with some understanding of French terms used in reference to the police and political figures. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and as my first translated novel, I will now release my fear of purchasing foreign novels. This is an awe-inspiring story with great writing and a complex “feel good” ending. I’d recommend!
– T.R. Horne, author of Breaking Mobius and Crazy Dirty Love, blogger at www.ragingbookreviews.wordpress.com