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Alex (Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy) Hardcover – 3 Sep 2013

240 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Maclehose Press Quercus; Reprint edition (3 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1623650003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1623650001
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (240 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 749,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pierre Lemaitre was born in Paris in 1956. He worked for many years as a teacher of literature and now devotes his time to writing novels and screenplays. His first novel ALEX was an international bestseller and winner of the CWA International Dagger Award 2013.

Product Description


'It enthrals at every stage of its unpredictability. Grippingly original' The Times.

'An invigoratingly scary one-sitting read' Guardian.

'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' Irish Times.

'Relentlessly gripping, Lemaitre is worthy of all the fuss' Independent.

'Brutal crime writing with a tinge of Gauloise ... brilliant' Daily Mail.

'An absolute gem' Eurocrime.

'Moves from read-as-fast-as-you-can horror to an intricately plotted race to a dark truth' Alison Flood, Observer. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Alex Prévost - kidnapped, savagely beaten, suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse in a wooden cage - is running out of time. Her abductor appears to want only to watch her die. Apart form a shaky eyewitness report, Police Commandant Camille Verhœven has nothing to go on: no suspect, no leads. To find the young woman, the detective - a man with a tragic past and extraordinary abilities as an investigator - must first understand more about her. Beautiful, tough, resourceful, always two steps ahead - the enigmas that is Alex will keep Verhœven guessing till the bitter, bitter end. Before long, saving Alex's life will be the least of Verhœven's considerable challenges.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Macey89 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
It's very difficult to explain the plot of `Pierre Lemaitre's Alex' without giving away too much. We open with the kidnapping and torture of a girl. The attempts of the police to track down this girl, with no evidence to show that a kidnapping has even taken place, help to start unravelling a web of lies, violence and deceit.

The book is split into three separate sections, each of which turns the story on its head and takes t in a completely new direction. It's like solving a mystery within a mystery - each section throws up a new conundrum and completely changes our views on what has come before.

All of the characters are hiding secrets and our perceptions of different people shifted depending on the titbits of information that the author slowly released over the course of the novel. The pace moves along at a breakneck pace, shifting how we see characters with just a few short sentences and well-timed revelations.

The cast of police detectives is set up nicely for a series. There was a decent amount of back story around the characters included, probably for this reason, but for me, this took away from the main action too much. I was much too tempted to skim read my way through these sections.

Some people have commented on the violence being a bit much to stomach in parts - but I didn't actually think it was that bad. The thing that makes this book more shocking than others in its genre is the excruciating minute details and the way that the author drags out the descriptions of the torture scenes.

Once I started reading this, I literally couldn't put it down. It got its hooks in and it didn't let go. If you like detective thrillers with a bit of an edge, this is the book for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 17 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback
Such a lot of hype about this book, but it delivers, despite that. The translation by Frank Wynne was seamless for me, I didn’t notice anything outlandish or wrong in people mixing US with UK language, but then I do tend to read at a fast pace. So many books, so little time! This was a cracker, though the background explanation came like a bolt from the blue for me, when it all worked through to the denouement. We veer from feeling desperately sorry for Alex, to feeling revulsion, but once we know the big WHY? it falls into place with only a brief sense that the writer has lingered a bit too long on the torture inflicted. And that is bad – about the worst I’ve read. Shades of 1984.

I thought the detective team were well depicted, though the characterisation went a bit by rote – each one of them had a separate persona, but then development of them as people slightly juddered to a halt. Nevertheless, this was fiendishly and brilliantly plotted. Full marks for this one. It kept me reading without pause as the unpleasant jolts and violence did it’s horrendous best to put me off. I couldn’t stop reading – had to finish it. Had to know. When I closed the book it was with a sense of inordinate pity and sadness. A triumph of the genre.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Penny Waugh on 8 July 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I found this an amazing book, far above the usual serial killer stories. From the first pages when we meet Alex, in seventh heaven trying on wigs in Paris just before she is brutally kidnapped, to the indeed bitter (but ultimately satisfactory) ending, the pace rarely lets up and the story becomes ever more convoluted.
It's not possible to say much about the plot without revealing what any interested reader needs to discover for themselves, but I found myself firmly on the side of Alex throughout. She is a feisty person, damaged but determined, and for a foil for her we have the Paris police, oddities in their own right: Camille, the senior officer so small his feet swing when he sits in an ordinary chair and who lost his wife to a kidnapper; Louis the rich man, Armand the cadger, Le Guen the much-married, the Magistrate who all agree must have been a highly irritating little boy - all trying to make sense of a situation that for a long time seems to have very little.
Alex and the police are the people we spend time with and get to know and I wanted to spend the time with them, brutal as it often was. From the start I found it hard to put down and I was desperate to find out what the ending would be. It did not disappoint. Great story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gerard P. on 11 May 2015
Format: Paperback
A beautiful and naked heroine being tortured by a monster, for goodness sake, clichés can't get worse than that! If you like novels in which there is a huge and tittilating dose of sadism , a fair amount of sex and in which most of the characters are constructed to be grotesquely weird, including most of the police officers, then this is one for you.

My own reaction: this novel is over-the-top, highly contrived and far too clever by half. I can envision the author sitting in his modest office and trying to devise new horrors, out of the back of his head. I fail to develop the least sympathy for, or interest in, any of his characters, whether pepetrator, or victim, or cop: it was a matter of indifference to me whether they sink or swim, live or die, or simply fade away. Thus, the first principle of detective stories is not fulfilled. This is what happens when everything becomes over-the-top: it just leads to a big yawn. Big yawn...

I am amazed at the positive reviews. But I suppose that detective novels must become more and more grimly violent and sadistic until this particular fashion fad has run its course. And may be we will then see a few good new detective novels emerging, stories enriched by subtle imagination rather than being full of brute force and ignorance... But this is, as always, just a personal opinion.
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