This is my last post for the year. I’ve read a lot of books, mostly early hardboiled novels and noir. However, out of the handful of books published in 2013 that I read, only one was memorable and worth mentioning again. And guess what? It’s not Nesbø this year even though I thought Police was really good but more of the same.
No, I am highlighting a book that me to was original, well written and had twists that changed the story more than once. A story that was a suspense-ridden, high-octane page-turner.
ALEX by Pierre Lemaitre and translated by Frank Wynne was brutal, engrossing and well written with twists and turns even down to the last page. I mentioned brutal because the beginning is tough to read but once I got past the first handful of chapters the story took a dramatic turn and that’s when things really picked up and I couldn’t put it down.
Most of the criticism directed at ALEX is about how violent it is. There’s nothing I can say to dispute this. I remember reading a post by Ann Cleeves (author of the Shetland series and Vera Stanhope series) about violence in crime fiction in general and she mentioned her blurbing ALEX and enjoying the story despite the violent first few chapters:
Lemaitre’s ALEX, which I admire immensely, is horribly gruesome at the beginning of the book, and I’ve blurbed a novel with a first chapter that made me wince, because the writing was so good.
The writing is good and I’m happy to pick ALEX as one of my best crime fiction reads of 2013.