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Bed of Nails Hardcover – 7 Jun 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857050370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857050373
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.5 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 551,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Imaginative and disturbing' The Times.

'An intriguing read, with a bold and surprisingly moving ending' Guardian.

'Strikingly original plot and characters' The Sunday Times.

'Simply superb' Joan Smith.

From the Inside Flap

It's as if he's being mocked from beyond the grave... When John Nichols arrives to identify the body of an old friend, he is instantly caught up in the wreckage of Alan Musgrave's life. This is the side of Paris the tourists don't see, where everyone has a past but very few count on a future. But what can he expect from a man who bled to death in his own excruciating S&M stage show? Now there's a maverick police lieutenant on the prowl who thinks that Musgrave was murdered. Guérin might not look like much, but he's one of the few honest officers on the force. As the horrific extent of police abuse is revealed, the race is on to find the link between a slew of apparent suicides - and the key to it is buried deep in Nichols' past. Signalling the arrival of a major new talent in crime fiction, Bed of Nails does for Paris what James Ellroy did for vintage America, shining a light as never before on the seedy underbelly of La Ville Luminère.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Raven TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have not read a crime thriller as utterly compelling and emotionally powerful as `Bed of Nails' for many years and, having been promised a unique crime reading experience by those lucky enough to have read this before publication, I would implore that you seek this out and prepare for an unparallelled master class in crime writing. A novel that metaphorically slaps you round the face from the opening scene of a harrowing suicide and a plot that continues to pummel the reader's senses throughout, plunging you unreservedly into the seedy underbelly of Parisian life, police and foreign diplomatic corruption and a twisting thriller peopled by a cast of beguiling and emotionally flawed but totally engaging characters. Being reluctant to divulge any further details of the plot, I would say that this a novel that is best approached from another angle entirely and for the following reasons:

There's that awful reviewer's cliche that `this is a book that stays with you long after the final page is turned' but I would absolutely endorse this statement in relation to this novel. The ending is so emotionally bleak for all the main protagonists, but you have engaged with them so much during the course of the book, gravitating between moments of violence to tenuous but touching interludes of human connection that it genuinely strikes a powerful chord. As the denouement unfolds with such devastating consequences for the characters , there is a calm and understated depiction of human frailty. In the death of one character in particular, whose violent end is tinged with a moment of complete serenity, there is a beautifully wrought and succinct juxtaposition with a solitary image that is wholly resonant of the natural world .
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Pearce on 29 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you've watched the French series Spiral (Engrenages in French) or seen the film 36 Quai des Orfevres, you'll feel right at home with this book. It's populated with a series of surreal and , let's admit it, pretty grotesque characters and yet they are also very real and strangely compelling so that you do actually care what happens to them. I say it requires concentration because there's a multitude of characters and it's difficult keeping track of them all. The writing seems dense (I'm much more used to the short chapters of James Patterson or Harlan Coben) and I'm guessing that this stems from it being written in French originally. It's worth perservering with and the other reviewer who wrote that it stays with you after you put it down is absolutely spot-on. I'm still mulling it over now, a full week after I finished it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jasper on 9 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very 'noir' even by the standards of contemporary 'noir' crime fiction, but an ingenious plot.
Eccentric Lieutenant Guérin, shunned by his colleagues, is sidelined into investigating suicides together with a new and relatively fresh junior - Lambert. Other characters include two expat Americans, one who appears to have committed suicide while performing an S & M act in a seedy Paris night club, and one attempting to live a rural idyll complete with bow and arrow in SW France. Also involved are an ex-con working as a night watchman in the Luxembourg Gardens and an American diplomat. The most likeable characters are a parrot and a dog who both finish up dead.
Despite the unrelieved gloom which is realistically, but fascinatingly portrayed, the plot with its many twists and turns is
surprisingly credible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Loved it! First let me say that the translation is exceptional. With a lesser translator this may well have been a very difficult book to understand.

There is a cast of characters who would not be lost in a Feydeau farce but, after all, this is a crime thriller so let's just say it has some farcical undertones. The strangest point is that thy all connect together even though, initially, you start to wonder what's going on.

I just loved the sentence: there was a look of ambiguous satisfaction on the face of a man who has nothing. Just brilliant.

This is a stand-alone book, deep in harm, in hurt, in love, in lost youth, in lost reality with a cruncher of an ending which moves the reader almost to tears. If only there could be a sequel; some of the characters - though not many - still should have a lot to give.

Nevertheless, this is an author who just shouts out to be read - even twice if you must just because his take on the crime and the people is so different from the everyday trackers-down of clues to a death. I urge you to read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ACB(swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER on 6 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Antonin Varenne has written a seedy Parisienne thriller, one of subterfuge and mystery. Alan Musgrave has bled to death and his body found by his friend John Nichols. Together with honest,eccentric policeman, Guerin and officer Lambert, Musgrave's friends (who believe he is the subject of ridicule despite being dead), set out to investigate. Suicides, cruelty and shady lives come to the forefront. Police abuse and threats pressurise witnesses in intimidatory style. The corruption by criminals, diplomatic and amongst establishment figures become blatantly transparent. The suspense and build up to the emotional yet bleak climax beggars disbelief. Nichols is a key figure as is Guerin. A top-class thriller that deserves more widespread recognition. A novel of immense intensity and power. The ending is incredibly memorable and believable. Character development by the author with twists and turns in the plot provide the reader with an intense feeling of reality. Brilliant.
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