Irene – Pierre LeMaitre – Book Review

IreneGoodreads blurb: For Commandant Verhoeven life is beautiful: he is happily married, expecting his first child with the lovely Irène.

But his blissful existence is punctured by a murder of unprecedented savagery. Worse still, the press seems to have it in for him – his every move is headline news. When he discovers that the killer has killed before – that each murder is an homage to a classic crime novel – the fourth estate are quick to coin a nickname… The Novelist…

With both men in the public eye, the case develops into a personal duel, each hell-bent on outsmarting the other. There can only be one winner – whoever has the least to lose…


While Irene by Pierre LeMaitre is not the first novel in the Crime Fiction genre that I have read that is authored by European authors, the fact remains that I still remain in awe of books in this genre written by the Europeans. While the basic premise of the books remain the same, crime thrillers, the subtle way in which the suspense and the thrills keep building leading to an explosive climax in the end simply blows my mind away each and every time. This and coupled with the fact that the authors pay more than a little bit of attention to the entire detailing of the police procedural aspects make these books a treat to read.

And this book is no different, starting from how Commandant Camille Verhoeven gets involved in investigating a gruesome double murder to building on the story itself while providing readers with enough pleasant interludes into his personal life, his childhood, how and why he becomes a cop, his wife’s impending pregnancy, the narrative takes us on the trail of a macabre serial killer who seems to be reenacting murders in excruciating details from crime thriller novels of the past. The identity and the motives of the killer, and more importantly how does the press manage to get a wind of all that Camille and his team are investigating form a majority of the crux of the narrative.

But trust me when I say this, the last 90 odd pages of the book will simply blow your mind away with the abrupt twist that the story takes. These pages form a riveting, blisteringly paced, nerve wracking, nail biting climax and overall leaves the reader quite breathless. BTW, the climax also provides an extremely clear rationale for why the book is named what it is.

Suffice to say that I am immediately going to jump right away into reading Alex by the same author, the second in the Camille Verhoeven trilogy with great enthusiasm.

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A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in return for an honest and unbiased review.