• Camille is a book about a French Detective – Commandant – of a special investigation unit. It is the third book in a trilogy, and this makes the review somewhat harder as I haven't read the first two. Further, when the dust jacket is plastered with praise for the author – he is the winner of the International dagger for crime fiction no less, I felt almost duty bound to fall over myself to slather this book in unrelenting superlatives and praise. But I won't.

    Don't misunderstand, Camille is a good read, well written, has excellent depth of character and you will find it hard to not sympathise and empathise with the protagonist. The issue here is that, in isolation, you miss the context of what has gone before in the first two stories. The reader is made aware of Camille's pregnant wife having been murdered by a serial killer early on in the novel, and as a consequence he is deeply damaged. But understanding how he then comes to be deeply in love (lust?) with someone else, so soon after his wife's butchering, had me a little confused.

    The new woman, Anne, is brutally assaulted in a bank robbery at the start of the book. Caught up in a violent Jewellery heist, she barely survived and Camille feels duty bound to take the lead in investigating the gang responsible. It is not as clear cut as that, however, and their modus operandi causes Camille to recognise someone from his past, and suspects he is being targeted personally. A message is being sent. What complicates the matter is that Camille then lies to his superiors in order to head up the investigation, because being romantically linked with the victim would ordinarily exclude him from any involvement in the case.

    What follows is a suspenseful journey where Camille must put everything he holds dear at risk, his career, his love and his sanity in order to find out who is responsible for his secret girlfriend' attack, and who it is that seems to be targeting him personally.

    Camille is a worthy read, can be completed in a weekend, and I like Lemaitre's style. Unfortunately, I can't quite see the '5 star praise' that it's attained all over the internet and everywhere else. Whilst the conclusion is not as obvious as first seems, the tale was definitely underwhelming for me. I suspect that reading the complete trilogy might change my opinion, but as it stands I feel the book deserves just the 3 'shrooms.

    3 mushroom heads.

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