Goodreads blurb: 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.
As is the case with his first novel Irene, this one Alex by Pierre Lemaitre also starts off with a kidnapping. The author takes his time in building up the circumstances that lead to the kidnapping, how Commandant Verhoeven is reluctantly pulled into the investigation, how he teams up with his earlier colleagues, the ever dependable Armand and his erstwhile long term partner Louis. What makes this portion more interesting is that Camille Verhoeven is still struggling to come to terms with what happens right at the end of the earlier book. Am not giving it away here as it would constitute a spoiler. In case you want to know more about Irene, read my review at this link [Link to review].
In any case, what starts off as a kidnapping with an unidentified victim soon spirals into something else altogether. Somewhere around midway through the book, the narrative takes quite a bizarre and interesting turn and the proceedings soon pick up breakneck speed giving Camille and his team more than a few sleepless nights. The kidnapping investigation soon becomes a chase where the cops are trying to figure out who the next victim of a serial killer is and try to anticipate the crimes to prevent them. Whether they succeed or not forms the crux of the second part of the book.
The final third of the book provides closure, not only to the case on hand but also to Camille who achieves closures on multiple aspects from his personal and professional life. He finally learns to let go of his emotional luggage and is ready to move on. These portions of the book where the author fleshes out his main protagonist make for some really interesting reading and enable readers to bond with Camille closer than would otherwise have been possible. Although the crime investigation and the police procedural parts of the book are top notch, to me, it is this emotional connect that I made with Camille Verhoeven that will make this book special to me.
A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in return for a honest and unbiased review of the same.