Pierre Niemans is the ex-golden boy of the Parisian police commando squad but his brutal methods of dealing with suspects are being investigated by his superiors. Under a cloud, he is sent to the university town of Guernon in the French Alps. In a fissure of a glacier outside the town a horrifying discovery has been made a mutilated and naked corpse and the enigmatic message, Blood-Red Rivers. Niemans joins forces with Karim Abdouf, a young ruffian turned maverick police inspector, who has arrived in Guernon on an apparently unrelated investigation into the desecration of a child s tomb. Another body is found frozen in the glacier. Is this the work of a satanic sect or simply of enraged killers? In Jean-Christophe Grange s exceptional suspense novel, Niemans unravels the depths of the past and finds his way to a truth beyond the realms of the imaginable.
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A corpse, hideously tortured and mutilated, is discovered in the French Alps; a primary school in the Perigord region suffers a professional break-in, except that nothing is stolen. What is the connection between these two events, the one appalling and pathologically vicious, the other seemingly innocuous and trivial?
Superintendent Pierre Niemans, posted away from Paris after brutalising an English football fan, is assigned to the murder; Police Lieutenant Karim Abdouf, a second-generation French Arab and consigned to small-town duties, is given the responsibility for the non-theft. As the two narratives alternate and converge, Niemans is led to discover more disfigured bodies--the killer is planting clues which point to each corpse - and Abdouf is drawn into the mystery of a child, dead for many years, of whom all written and photographic traces seem to have been eradicated.
Jean-Cristophe Grange's second novel was a huge success in France, where critics compared the book to The Silence of the Lambs. While not quite matching Thomas Harris's forensic expertise or brilliantly depicted psychopathology, Blood-Red Rivers is a gripping narrative: the action occurs within a 24-hour span, and gathers a vertiginous pace towards the end as the two detectives find that they are both investigating the same crime--one that goes far beyond what either could possibly have imagined. This French thriller replaces the characteristic small town setting of the American crime novel with the equal claustrophobia of the small French university town--the undercurrents of racism and the class divisions of French society providing a festering background for the horrors of the book's climax. All in all, not so much A Year In Provence but twenty-four hours in Alpine hell.--Burhan TufailReview:
"An enthralling read" (New Statesman)
"A gripping story and racy narrative" (Sunday Telegraph)
"The best thriller since The Silence of the Lambs" (Figaro)
"Grange has turned out a rip-roaring shocker that begins smashingly; skirts the spooky supernatural amid graveyards, ruins, wild landscapes and night-scapes for 300 gripping pages; and at last collapses into the macabre 18th century fantasies of Maturin and Mrs. Radcliffe" (Eugen Weber Los Angeles Times)
"Smart and intense, Blood Red Rivers will have you turning pages at a furious clip" (Peter Mergendahl Denver Rocky Mountain News)
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