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5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect book, 22 Oct 2014
On the surface this is a police thriller about a couple of cops out to solve an old mystery triggered by the finding of a mysterious film. Underneath, however, it's so much more.

I consider this to be pretty much my perfect book. I like thrillers, but too often I find them shallow and poorly written. I also like more literary fiction, but sometimes find myself longing for a bit more grit and action in with the ideas and writing. This book combines the pair of genres and loses nothing from either.

The thriller part is carried out to perfection. Despite reading in a more literary way than most crime novels, the author never lets the tension up for a moment and manages to pack so much in that you'll be amazed to find how few pages you've read when so much has happened. The central mystery bubbles along nicely with myriad side plots popping up and grabbing your attention along the way too. Despite its drama, the book is not overly emotional, and because of this, when emotions do come in to play, they feel all the more raw and powerful.

The characterisation is great. The two main cops are brilliantly drawn - a perfect mix of familiar tropes made fresh with genre bending tweaks - the main cop is a grizzled, older guy, close to retirement, scarred and haunted by his demons (so far, so cliched), but he is also schizophrenic and is pursued by a hallucination of a young girl, has a compulsion to take cold baths and needs to hear the sound of toy trains to be able to clear his head of voices. Both main characters are also very well rounded and despite (or perhaps because of) their flaws, it's impossible not to be utterly sympathetic to the pair of them. There is also a good sized supporting cast, all of whom are fleshed out almost instantly in simple strokes and who come with such seemingly complete and intriguing backstories they feel like they could have novels of their own.

The writing is clean and simple, but with a good gritty feeling throughout. The cities are described fairly sparsely, but with a real eye for detail (Cairo, in particular, really came alive for me). At times the writing reminded me a lot of the Shinjuku Shark series by Arimasa Osawa, which I have recently discovered and would highly recommend to anyone who enjoyed this.

I felt all the way that this could easily be part of a series (I don't know if it is - in English this is the only available novel by this guy), but, although there could be so much more from these characters, this novel is a wholly complete work in itself and if it is a standalone work it stands alone very well.

Basically, I just cannot recommend this highly enough - to crime fans, to thriller fans, to conspiracy fans, to psychological novel fans, to literary fans, to action fans, to everyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, 28 July 2013
Absolutely amazing!!! In Spain and USA is a bestseller. Dark, scary, breathtaking....the best book I have read in time. Well written, perfect plot.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING, 28 July 2013
In my country is a bestseller. I could not stop reading, I was holding my breath all time. Amazing book, well written, the plot is breathtaking.
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Syndrome E by Franck Thilliez (Hardcover - 16 Aug 2012)
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