In this gripping, fiendishly plotted detective novel, Alex Prévost is kidnapped, savagely beaten, and suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned industrial building in a wooden cage - she is running out of time. Her abductor/torturer appears to desire only one thing: to watch her die. Will hunger, thirst, or the rats get her first?
One witness has filed a report with the police, but apart from this insubstantial bit of evidence Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven has nothing to go on: no suspect, no other leads. To understand what has happened to Alex, the detective - a man with a tragic past but extraordinary abilities as an investigator - must first understand more about the girl whose life he is trying to save. As he slowly uncovers the story of the girl's unusual childhood, he comes to realize she is no ordinary victim. She is beautiful, yes, but also extremely tough and resourceful - and unconventional in the extreme.
As the manhunt is drawing to its conclusion, the case shifts in the most shocking way. Before long, saving Alex's life will be the least of Commandant Verhoeven's considerable challenges.
"Starred Review. Some unexpected plot twists will keep readers turning the pages." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. An eloquent thriller with a denouement that raises eyebrows as it speeds the pulse." - Kirkus
"Fascinating, horrifying, not to be missed." - Rolling Stone (Italy)
"Alex ... moves from read-as-fast-as-you-can horror to an intricately plotted race to a dark truth." - The Guardian (UK)
"Enthralls at every stage of its unpredictability." - The Times (UK)
"What begins as a search for a missing person soon becomes a beguiling series of investigations linked only by Alex, a Parisian version of Lisbeth Salander. Camille, volatile, brilliant and just under 5ft, is an equally riveting figure." - The Sunday Times (UK)
"A weaver of dark and disturbing crime fiction ... Lemaitre brings his stinging, bitter story to a genuinely unexpected conclusion. We are not in the comfortable world of Inspector Maigret here - this is harsh, fierce crime writing with a Gauloise tinge. It would not be out of place filmed in black-and-white by the late, lamented Francois Truffaut, who loved crime tales like this." - The Daily Mail (UK)
"Relentlessly gripping ... Various subtle variations of the crime novel are handled with aplomb ... By page 200 you may believe that you're moving to a pulse-raising conclusion. But you will be wrong; in some senses, the novel has only just begun." - The Independent (UK)
"Exhilarating, literary, Hitchcockian ... This new investigation of Commandant Camille Verhoeven resumes with the sense of suspense, the art of the unexpected twist, the play on emotions that so seduced us and in which the influence of Hitchcock breaks out."- Le Monde Magazine (France)
"[Lemaitre's] fourth novel keeps its bloody promises." - Metro (France)
"Pierre Lemaitre has proved, over four novels, not only that he is an accomplished novelist, but also that he [is] ... capable of portraying characters with real human depth ... All this enveloped in an atmosphere laden with violence and pierced, through unimaginable suffering, by noble sentiments, like rays of sunshine . . . Lemaitre's talent lies in never being predictable." - Le Figaro (France)
"Hailed as the most important crime novel in translation since Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Alex similarly features as an intriguingly flawed feminist heroine bent on vengeance, and will likely prove a sensation of the crime fiction year." - The Irish Times
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Pierre Lemaitre was a literature professor for many years before turning to novel writing full-time. His five books to date have earned him critical and public acclaim as a master of both the crime novel and the thriller.
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