Review: Irène

Irène by Pierre Lemaitre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has been tormenting me, it has taken so long for me to read. I kept being distracted by other shiny books and this one, even though I was enjoying it, was slower paced and so I was putting it aside. Finally last night I finished it in a huge reading flurry! I enjoy French crime novels as a rule, they have a different take on crime solving and the detectives are always unusual and nothing like British or Scandinavian police. I’m thinking of the Fred Vagas novels I’ve read, the pensive contemplative detective seems to be a French thing.

This is the first novel in the series which includes Alex, which I thought was fabulous. I think this is one of the more gory crime novels I’ve read, the descriptions of exactly how the bodies were dismembered was very graphic and at times made me wince a lot. The idea of a killer replicating the crimes in crime novels was really clever. The twists and turns were fantastic and the ending is quite something. And if you’ve read Alex you will know what happens in this one. I don’t think it particularly mattered that I’d read Alex first other than I did know what was going to happen in the end of this one, the journey was still good. The story does meander a bit and in a perfect world it could have been a bit more tightly edited, but the translation was great and it is an entertaining if disturbing read.

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