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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
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...
Published 9 months ago by Macey89

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A clever thriller
Pierre Lemaitre's Alex is a very cleverly plotted thriller, with at least two very surprising changes of perspective that suddenly shift the ground from under your feet and make you realise that you didn't truly understand what was going on after all. It also has a rather endearing detective squad, with each member having very memorable quirks. So why only 3 stars? I...
Published 13 months ago by J. H. Bretts


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 13 Mar 2014
By 
Macey89 - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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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2 of 2 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
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Alex (The Camille Verhoeven Trilogy) (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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth or Justice?, 8 July 2013
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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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2 of 2 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
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 23 Oct 2013
By 
Luanne Ollivier - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Alex (The Camille Verhoeven Trilogy) (Paperback)
I had seen a few mentions of Alex by Pierre Lemaitre around the blogosphere and thought it might be a good fit, given my penchant for crime thrillers.

Was it ever! I was hooked from the first chapter. (And more than a little annoyed at myself that I didn't start reading earlier in the night) Fair warning right from the start - Gentle readers this one's not for you - there is graphic violence and disturbing situations. Back to that first chapter.....a beautiful young woman named Alex is snatched off the street, taken to an abandoned warehouse and forced into a small wooden crate which is then suspended from the ceiling. Her captor says nothing more to her other than he is going to watch her die. But Alex is resourceful....very resourceful...

A kidnapping is reported and the case is given to Commandant Camille Verhoeven - a man who lost his pregnant wife to a kidnapper - her body was found, but not the perpetrator and he has eschewed all kidnapping cases since. Verhoeven's boss LeGuen assigns him to the case as he says there is no one else and so Verhoeven reluctantly takes on the case. LeGuen has brought Verhoeven's old team back together. Lemaitre has created a memorable group of investigators that I really enjoyed. But the most memorable is of course Verhoeven.

"People rarely get the measure of Camille on first meeting and rarely appreciate him. This might also be because he's not exactly cheerful. Camille doesn't like himself very much." Camille is also a victim of fetal hypotrophy and stands only 4'11'. "Camille is positively stunted. He sees the world from the viewpoint of a thirteen year old." In contrast, his superior and old friend LeGuen is quite large - the scale is somewhere near three hundred pounds. Armand and Louis fill out the team. Again opposites - Louise is wealthy with no need to work and Armand is a notorious penny pincher. (His scavenging ways provided a light note in a heavy plot)

And what a plot! Lemaitre is fiendishly clever, leading the reader down one path initially and then veering off in a direction I didn't see coming. I really don't want to give much more away - I love being surprised and Lemaitre successfully caught me unawares. Loved it!

I have to also mention that Frank Wynne did a fantastic job with the translation - very smooth reading with no wooden clunky sentences or form.

Alex is an excellent thriller and a great introduction to a prickly character I want to see more of. Alex was the winner of the CWA International Dagger Award 2013.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Entertainment!, 22 Sep 2013
By 
G. J. Oxley "Gaz" (Tyne & Wear, England) - See all my reviews
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When it comes to crime fiction (note: I read widely in other fictional genres, also) I tend to be fairly insular in my reading: I have an (admitedly large) list of authors whose books I devour upon publication. If you're interested, my MUST READ writers alive today include: Jo Nesbo, Michael Connelly, John Connolly, James Lee Burke, Mark Billingham, George Pelecanos, Laurence Block, Val McDermid, Mo Hayder, Ruth Rendell, Peter Lovesey, Arnaldur Indridason, Henning Mankell, Peter Robinson, Robert Crais, Lee Child, Sue Grafton etc, etc. And don't get me started on all the brilliant dead authors I also read.

Anyway, this book came my way - outside my usual reading list - and I have to admit that it blew me away. Pierre Lemaitre
has produced a gripping, kidnap thriller. The epoynmous heroine is aware that she's being watched by a bloke across the street. She doesn't want to believe it, but when she's bundled into a white van and taken to an unused warehouse, she has no doubts. Once there, the beautiful young woman is subjected to horrible things and suffers unimaginable psychological horrors.

Alex attempts to escape and at the same time Commandant Camille Verhoeven is trying to learn the truth about her abduction...

This is a superbly written novel, and the character's are well fleshed-out. I galloped through this one and look forward to more of Frank Wynne's translations of the author's novels. Pierre Lemaitre is apparently very popular in his native France and this is the first of his books to be translated into English. I can confidently predict that it certainly won't be his last.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Kidnap Thriller, 21 Sep 2013
By 
A. Rose (Devon & Menorca) - See all my reviews
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Alex, Pierre Lemaître's first novel to be translated into English, is a gripping page turner of a thriller. In the first few pages of the book Alex (female) is kidnapped off the street at 9 o'clock in the evening. She's beaten, bundled into a tarpaulin and driven off to a derelict building.

Each chapter switches between Alex - what's happening to her and what's going through her mind - and the police/detectives who are combing the streets for any information to piece together who has been kidnapped and why, and trying to save her before the inevitable happens.

To give any more of the story would spoil it for a potential reader but what I would say is that all is not what it at first seems. The book is in three parts in which the first we are full of sympathy for Alex, the second we feel horror of her actions and the third fits the past and the present into place. As stated in the book, does the truth matter if justice is done ?

A real page turner, I can thoroughly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continuous six hour roller coaster read of a book, 7 Jan 2014
This review is from: Alex (The Camille Verhoeven Trilogy) (Paperback)
I bundled into my freezing bed last night at 21.00 winds and driving rain thrashing at the eaves window and started this book. I finished it at 03.00. Emotions ranged from confusion, horror, helplessness, anger, aching sadness, humiliation, despair to comedic appreciation, bonhomie and surprise. It is a horrifying book and not for the faint hearted, but I thoroughly recommend it. The translation was absolutely flawless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IMPORTANT - READ 'IRENE' BEFORE 'ALEX', 5 Oct 2014
This is a very interesting book that got me completely hooked. I lost a fair bit of sleep because I was up all night reading!! However, it's important to note that while this is the first Verhoeven book to be translated into English, it's the second in the series. You should really read 'Irene' first (also a great book). 'Alex' contains some information that could spoil 'Irene'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars page turner from across the channel, 20 Nov 2013
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An absolute must for anyone who loves thrillers. The story divides itself into three main parts and each one has you hooked. The main character is intruiging, mysterious, damaged and you feel for her. She hides secrets that in turn determine the outcome of this well written novel. A must!
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Alex (The Camille Verhoeven Trilogy)
Alex (The Camille Verhoeven Trilogy) by Pierre Lemaitre (Paperback - 1 Aug 2013)
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