Alex – Pierre LeMaitre – Book Review

untitledGoodreads 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.

Click here to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link].


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

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.

Click here to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link]


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