Thursday 3 May 2018


A bit of cross-Channel love today for some French crime fiction in the collection.

Gilles Petel, Pascal Garnier, Antonin Varenne, Jean-Claude Izzo, Jean-Patrick Manchette and Tonino Benacquista - with apologies to Fred Vargas, Pierre Lemaitre and Henri Charriere.

Pascal Garnier - The A26 (2013)
I've enjoyed a bit of Garnier in the past - The Front Seat Passenger, Boxes, The Islanders, The Eskimo Solution,

The future is on its way to Picardy with the construction of a huge motorway. But nearby is a house where nothing has changed since 1945.

Traumatised by events in 1945, Yolande hasn’t left her home since.

And life has not been kinder to Bernard, her brother, who is now in the final months of a terminal illness.

Realizing that he has so little time left, Bernard’s gloom suddenly lifts. With no longer anything to lose, he becomes reckless – and murderous …

Antonin Varenne - Bed of Nails (2012)

I did enjoy his book - Loser's Corner

Guerin is not your typical policeman. Sitting in a dingy office at the back of a vast Parisian police station, he reviews the files of suicides to check that their deaths really were self-inflicted. He lives and works under a cloud of suspicion: the suicide of a former colleague is blamed by everyone in the force on his maverick methods of investigation. Guerin's two most recent suicide cases share striking similarities. Both concern young men who died naked in very public places. He is convinced the two deaths are linked, but his intuition is ridiculed by all but his loyal assistant, Lambert. Increasingly obsessed by this morbid coincidence, Guerin encounters John Nichols, an American former psychiatrist who has been called to Paris to identify the body of a friend, yet another suicide. As the bizarre death cult tightens its vice-like grip on the city, Guerin and Nichol's parallel investigations uncover evidence of shocking abuse, both in the upper echelons of the police force and at the US embassy. Antonin Varenne is a new and powerful voice in crime fiction; Bed of Nails engages with the violence at the heart of society, and the darkest elements of human nature.

Tonino Benacquista - Someone Else (2005)

Not read Benacquista yet, but I did enjoy the adaptation of his book Badfellas into the film - The Family with Robert De Niro

"Breathless pace. Touches effortlessly on identity, love, alcohol, and the cynicism of the business world."-Les Echos 

Who hasn't wanted to become "someone else"? Over a drink in Paris, two men give each other three years to see which one can more radically alter his life. Blin becomes a private detective. He takes on a new identity, even a surgically altered face. Gredzinski, a self-effacing corporate executive, discovers liquor that evening and rapidly yields to the sensuality and self-confidence induced by alcoholism. Things get complicated when Blin is hired by an ex-lover to find himself and when Gredzinski secretly follows his girlfriend to her home. A helter-skelter tale of humor and suspense. 

Winner of the literary prize RTL-Lire.

Jean-Claude Izzo - Total Chaos (2005)

Izzo's Marseilles Trilogy sits on the pile, Total Chaos followed by Chourmo and Solea

"Jean-Claude Izzo's . . . growing literary renown and huge sales are leading to a recognizable new trend in continental fiction: the rise of the sophisticated Mediterranean thriller. . . . Caught between pride and crime, racism and fraternity, tragedy and light, messy urbanization and generous beauty, the city for [detective Fabio Montale] is a Utopia, an ultimate port of call for exiles. There, he is torn between fatalism and revolt, despair and sensualism."-The Economist 

This first installment in the legendary Marseilles Trilogy sees Fabio Montale turning his back on a police force marred by corruption and racism and taking the fight against the mafia into his own hands.

Jean-Patrick Manchette - The Prone Gunman (2002)

Not tried this author yet. His Three to Kill also sits on the pile.

Martin Terrier is a hired killer who wants out of the game-so he can settle down and marry his childhood sweetheart. That's why he took up this profession! Martin returns to his hometown to claim her, but the Organization won't let him go. Once again, the gunman must assume the prone shooting position. In a violent tale that shatters as many illusions as bodies, Manchette subjects Martin and the reader alike to a fierce exercise in style.

Gilles Petel - Under the Channel (2014)

Another untried author. Published by Gallic Books, the same publisher that puts out Pascal Garnier's work.

When the body of a Scotsman turns up on board a Channel Tunnel train at the Gare du Nord, Parisian detective Roland Desfeuillères finds himself in charge of a murder investigation. Roland decides to travel to London -and not just in order to progress the inquiry. It's also a chance to escape his troubled marriage. Arriving in a city gripped by the financial crisis, Roland immerses himself in the victim's hedonistic lifestyle, as he searches for the motive behind the crime. But the longer he walks in the dead man's shoes, the more Roland discovers about himself . . .


  1. You've got some good stuff there, Col. I really hope you'll like the Benacquista, and I see you've got Izzo's work on the list, too. That's a really potent trilogy and I hope you'll enjoy it.

    1. Margot, I'm looking forward to all of these titles to be honest. Hard to pick a favourite. Maybe Izzo needs looking at first, he's probably been on the pile the longest.

  2. I have only read one of these: Total Chaos. It was too gritty for me which should make it perfect for you. I do want to try the rest of trilogy though. Maybe I just wasn't ready for it a few years ago when I read the book.

    1. Another hat tip for Izzo which means I ought to read this one first. Cheers!

  3. I really enoyed the Izzo trilogy as well. Also available as a mini-series starring Alain Delon.

    1. Laura, cheers for that. I'll have to look it up thanks.