SYNDROME E by Franck Thilliez

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While keeping watch over her sick daughter, Lieutenant Lucie Hennebelle receives a quite shocking call: her ex has been struck suddenly and inexplicably blind. And while it was somewhat coincidental that Lucie’s was the number he dialed, she is both willing and able to help.

Ludovic Sénéchal was the first to arrive at the estate sale. This meant he had first pick of ad’s promised 800+ historic film reels. His most exciting purchase, though, is a reel found hidden away on a top shelf. The unlabeled movie is the first thing Ludovic loads onto his projector as soon as he gets home. And it’s the last thing he sees.

Miles away, five horribly disfigured bodies have been discovered at a work site in northern France and Chief Inspector Franck Sharko has been assigned to lend his profiling expertise. While at first the two incidents are seemingly unrelated, an anonymous call indicates otherwise, leaving Hennebelle and Sharko forced to pool resources in order to unravel a bizarre and twisted crime.

Syndrome E is fantastic. The plot is perfectly executed – with just the right amount of tension and twists – and the characters are wonderfully realized. Both Hennebelle and Sharko have great stories, though Sharko and all of his idiosyncrasies make him my own favorite of the two. They’re perfect for driving a series, which is fortunate considering they’ll both return this month in Syndrome E’s follow up, Bred to Kill.

2/15 Becky LeJeune

SYNDROME E by Franck Thilliez. Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 29, 2014). ISBN: 978-0147509710. 384p.

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