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31 Reviews
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping reading - I certainly didn't see that twist coming
I read this author's first book "Alex" and found it compelling reading but a little gory - I felt that the author had rather revelled in the violence done to women. In this book the crime scenes are as brutal but we only see the results after the victims are dead and don't live through the actual crime which helps to distance us from the violence whilst in no way...
Published 4 months ago by Anne

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disturbing, positively unpleasant to read. I read ...
Very disturbing, positively unpleasant to read. I read Alex aloud to my partner, and because of the alternating chapter structure was able to skim gratuitous detail, while homing in on more important aspects: and after the first 30% or so, it really became a fascinating book. Irene is simply nasty. I was unable to read beyond about 35%.
Published 3 days ago by Jill


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping reading - I certainly didn't see that twist coming, 10 Mar 2014
By 
Anne (Sheffield, Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Irène (Verhoeven Trilogy 2) (Kindle Edition)
I read this author's first book "Alex" and found it compelling reading but a little gory - I felt that the author had rather revelled in the violence done to women. In this book the crime scenes are as brutal but we only see the results after the victims are dead and don't live through the actual crime which helps to distance us from the violence whilst in no way hiding the impact of the killer's work. The author reveals as the book progresses that each crime is a reenactment of a scene in famous crime books so he can blame the gore on other writers anyway !

It is difficult to review this book without reference to an amazing twist which occurs towards the end of the book and which I in no way saw coming. It is an amazingly clever piece of writing which turns your perceptions of the whole story around and causes you to reexamine everything you thought you knew about the story. This twist made the book a five star read for me because it was so clever but I also thought that the characterisation and the plot were gripping before that point. I wish that the author had spent a little more time after the twist is revealed helping us to work out exactly what is real and what isn't, I had to stop reading from time to time to work it out. It is possible, however, that the impact of the story, the twist and the ending is enhanced because of the way in which we have to continually rethink what is happening.

I thought that this was a good book up to when the author makes his revelation when it becomes an exceptional book that even several days after reading I am still thinking about. The detailed characterisations of Camille Verhoeven, his colleagues and his wife stop the book being merely and academic puzzle and make it engaging reading.

Thank you to the publishers who provided a free copy of this book to me in exchange for a review via NetGalley.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost as good as Alex, 15 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Irène (Verhoeven Trilogy 2) (Kindle Edition)
The reader is left guessing at the ending until the last page - a real thriller I'm happy to recommend. Please can we have more Pierre Lemaitre translations!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 10 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Irène (Verhoeven Trilogy 2) (Kindle Edition)
Perhaps not as good as Alex and the final result is a little obvious particularly if you read Alex first (the second in the series but translated into English before Irene), but a great read that is genuinely difficult to put down. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A neat detective hero, 20 Mar 2014
This review is from: Irène (Verhoeven Trilogy 2) (Kindle Edition)
Great book, good characters, sound plot, somewhat spoiled by the title. The ending was predictable from too early in the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irene, 18 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Irène (Verhoeven Trilogy 2) (Kindle Edition)
Absolutely amazing. I was enthralled from start to finish and couldn't put this book down.
Great story line - setting ending.
Brilliant!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Very disturbing, positively unpleasant to read. I read ..., 21 July 2014
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Jill (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Irène (Verhoeven Trilogy 2) (Kindle Edition)
Very disturbing, positively unpleasant to read. I read Alex aloud to my partner, and because of the alternating chapter structure was able to skim gratuitous detail, while homing in on more important aspects: and after the first 30% or so, it really became a fascinating book. Irene is simply nasty. I was unable to read beyond about 35%.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative, 15 July 2014
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In my opinion Pierre Lemaitre is one of the best writers of the crime genre I have read in a long time. His characters are not spared from ridicule but they become more then the often rather one dimensional personalities usually encountered in this kind of fiction.
Am impatiently awaiting further translations of his work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superior Thriller, 11 July 2014
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This review is from: Irène (Verhoeven Trilogy 2) (Kindle Edition)
I read Alex before I read this so I knew the fate that befalls Irene. Nevertheless, that didn't detract from the main story line and it is a really gripping read with good characters. The idea of re-creating scenes from crime thrillers is very clever. This author is up there with the best. The translation is so good you would think it was written originally in English with all the right colloquialisms.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written (well translated), 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Irène (Verhoeven Trilogy 2) (Kindle Edition)
Warning!! Read this book first, then read Alex. Great books. However, some readers may find the certain scenes disturbing. Thanks Pierre
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ceci n'est pas une pipe, 2 Jun 2014
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MisterHobgoblin (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Irène (Verhoeven Trilogy 2) (Kindle Edition)
Most Anglophone reviewers of Irene are going to be coming to this having read Alex. That's a pity.

In French, Irene was published first. Alex was the sequel. The strength of Alex was in plunging straight into the action without the need to introduce the detective and those around him. It also created a detective with a backstory that was described briefly. In Alex, we find that introduction to a detective we already know, and the backstory that we already know is what is supposed to drive the suspense in Irene.

In truth, Alex is a better book and does shine when read first, but that is at the expense of getting the most out of Irene which is, on its own, still pretty good.

Pierre Le Maitre is an excellent writer who has benefitted from a wonderful translator. The novel appears to be a standard police procedural centered around a warped but intelligent serial killer who plays games with the investigating team. This isn't what happens in real life and it does feel a bit pedestrian. Especially coming on from the brilliant Alex, it seems ordinary. Actually it isn't - it is very clever indeed. But by the time the reader realises this in the last fifth of the text, there is a fair chance that some of the readers will have either been lost or be skimming. Their loss.

Le Maitre creates a real, three dimensional world. Yes, it's Paris and it still feels authentic without being romantic. It's a world more of Gitanes and brandy than the Eiffel Tower and Sacre Couer. But we do still have Camille's love of painting and a fair dose of literature to remind us we are in a city of art and learning.

It would be unfair to reveal the trick, but it is a good one. When it happens, it's probably best to sit back in amazement than probe too deeply.

I recommend Irene as a work of literary fiction, not just as a detective fiction. Pierre Le Maitre is real talent and I hope we can see more of his works coming into English translation in the near future.
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Irène (Verhoeven Trilogy 2)
Irène (Verhoeven Trilogy 2) by Pierre Lemaitre
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