From the very first pages, you feel how dreadful life is in Carmac, a tiny mountain village ... The style has a great flow, very well conveyed in translation, as the narrator addresses her husband while reminiscing ... The author, who focuses on class relations, did a fantastic job at capturing the French social background, and at conveying the local color of life in a small village. The fourth chapter focusing on Abbott and Costello, the two old pillars of the cafe, is a gem, so spot on. It will sound very familiar to anyone living in a tiny place in France ... Ultimately, Sedira is offering a study on human nature. \
RaveCriminal Element... sharp and riveting ... take your psychological novel reading to a higher and deeper level ... I thoroughly enjoyed this extremely efficient narration pace. As the story develops, the chapters get shorter and shorter, making the story speed up and the suspense boil over with intensity. The last twelve chapters have a great number of twists and unexpected turns ... And to add to the suspense, the atmosphere of many scenes is extremely well conveyed ... The story is very much enriched by this rich psychological background, just like in the author’s three previous books. If you want to take your psychological thriller reading to a higher and deeper level, then you need to read Wendy Walker.
M. L. Longworth
MixedCriminal ElementM.L. Longworth manages to create a homey ambiance to her novel, with the Christmas market on Cours Mirabeau and carols in cathedral Saint-Sauveur. I liked the balance the author reached between the local elements...and the international dimension ... The description of the city, with its famous places, streets, plazas, and restaurants, and of the food offered there, is nicely done ... I have not read the first seven books in the series, and maybe this was a major handicap. I felt totally overwhelmed by the number of characters ... My biggest criticism is actually that the mystery starts much too slowly. It is certainly important to set the scene and present the characters. But the crime does not happen until page 78. This felt too late for a 286-page novel, especially in the mystery genre. And because of the multiplicity of red herrings, the plot develops very slowly. The end was satisfying, though not stunning.
Antoine Laurain, Trans. by Louise Rogers-Lalaurie
RaveWords and PeaceSome passages are totally hilarious ... The book will end in a manner and place you probably never expected ... The book contains also hilarious views on contemporary art and on the world of high executives–[protagonist] Fabrice works as a headhunter in a Consultant Company ... Quirky story, as the French know how to do, with a good dose of dark comedy, by a skilled and entertaining writer.