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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth or Justice?
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...
Published 12 months ago by Penny Waugh

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Short people got nobody to love
There's lots to object to in this nasty violent tale of kidnappings, torture and serial murder. Where to start? There's the cliched damaged heroine who gets her revenge by being even more brutal than her abusers. The lingering over her capture and torture. The one-note cop characters: this one's rich, this one's a cadger. The total lack of humour or wit.

But...
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Short people got nobody to love, 28 Feb 2014
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There's lots to object to in this nasty violent tale of kidnappings, torture and serial murder. Where to start? There's the cliched damaged heroine who gets her revenge by being even more brutal than her abusers. The lingering over her capture and torture. The one-note cop characters: this one's rich, this one's a cadger. The total lack of humour or wit.

But for me the final straw in this pile of old fashioned weirdness was the author's baffling emphasis on the height of his lead detective. So this guy's 4ft 11ins. That's not exactly abnormal. It's not a handicap or a humiliation, as the Prix Concort and CWA prize winning author would have it. He's just a bit short! And what does this add to the plot? Nothing except an opportunity for a bit of sniggering at how his feet dangle from the chair and don't touch the floor. Unreconstructed attitudes pretending to be something more sophisticated.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth or Justice?, 8 July 2013
By 
Penny Waugh "A reader" (UK) - See all my reviews
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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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want more...............please!, 6 Aug 2013
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lovemurakami "tooty2" (uk) - See all my reviews
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I was struggling to fit this book into a precise category but then I read the quote (from a review) on the back cover....
'Half crime novel, half thriller, 100% successful'
Well, I for one have no arguments with that brief summing-up!
It's a little bit difficult to explain how different this book is from it's competition without giving some hints of the plot and it's twists;so you'll just have to take my word that you probably won't have read anything quite like this before!.
I'm one of those readers who likes to guess and figure out what's going to happen next or the ending; but I'm also most pleased when I am unable to do so!
I'm quite a slow reader(usually) but once I reached around chapter 3 or 4 I found the phrase 'unputdownable' really apt!
There's graphic violence and some sexual content but, as they say, that goes with the territory.

This is a translation from the French original but I can't really say whether this affects the reading. Some of the sentences are very short (2 words ..is that a sentence?) but it didn't detract from the story; at least not in my experience (although my partner found it irritating enough to put the book down!)
This is the first of Pierre Lemaitre's works to be translated into English but, if his other work is this good I can only hope they receive the same treatment.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well done thriller which changes the reader's perspective as it goes along, 1 July 2013
By 
John M "John M" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Alex is a thriller set in France (predominantly Paris) and originally written in French. The story concerns a young woman who is kidnapped and held captive in a wooden crate. As the story moves along the reader learns more about Alex, the situation and her history. This alters the reader's perspective and sympathies with the various characters involved in Alex's life and Alex herself. Interwoven in this are the French police team lead by the diminutive Camille Verhoeven, leading a team of colourful characters. Camille himself is both complex and interesting, albeit a little unlikely!
The story alternates between Alex and the investigating force, as a rather gory killing spree unfolds. It is quite cleverly constructed and executed, although a rather unpleasant story and not for the squeamish.
It took me a several chapters to get used to the writing in the present tense, which I found a bit distracting at times.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 29 Jun 2013
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tomtom (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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At last, a real thriller. Nothing is as it seems and just when you think you've cracked it, one page later, -- you were absolutely wrong. Suspense to the very last line of the very last page. Let's have his other novels translated into English please.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable, not for the faint hearted, 27 July 2013
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Mr. J W "john_w" (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
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I really really enjoyed this book. Before I started, I had picked up that there would be a major twist somewhere along the story. Not sure that I had appreciated how much of a twist! And I would disagree there was only one. From the character development, the different threads running at the same time, and then the bizarrely deep analysis of the main police characters... I loved this story. Cover to cover was done in a couple of days. Great - 5*
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...The bottles of acid are safely stowed. There is no risk.", 17 Mar 2014
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alex (Verhoeven Trilogy 1) (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 13 Mar 2014
By 
Macey89 - See all my reviews
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a brilliant book., 17 Jan 2014
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I'm really pleased I gave this book a try because it's a very intelligent, thoughtful and unsettling story. It's perfectly balanced and extremely well written. If you like Fred Vargas as I do then you'll love Pierre Lemaitre. Try it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cherchez la femme!, 9 Jan 2014
By 
MisterHobgoblin (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
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I absolutely loved this book. It is as complex and clever as Sarah Waters at her best. Pierre Lemaitre does a wonderful job in playing with the readers' emotions - hope, despair, anger, surprise, hate, pity - all of them come into play in this most unexpected package. On the outside, it looks like a run of the mill police procedural, exploring the somewhat arcane French judicial system. But it is so much more.

It is hard to explain just how good this is without spoiling it for those who have yet to read it. Broadly, I suppose, one could say that it opens with the police receiving a report of a young woman being bundled into a van against her will. They then have to work out who she is, where she is, and who is responsible - in whichever order comes naturally. Can't say more - perhaps, just this once, take it on trust.
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Alex (Verhoeven Trilogy 1)
Alex (Verhoeven Trilogy 1) by Pierre Lemaitre (Paperback - 1 Aug 2013)
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