The 7th Woman by Frederique Molay (translation by Anne Trager) is a police procedural featuring Nico Sirsky, head of the Criminal Investigation Division in Paris, a likable protagonist faced with a series of brutal murders. The murderer has a personal grievance against Nico and creates clues that lead to individuals close to Nico, red herrings that take time to untangle and that misdirect investigators.
The novel moves quickly; it has to because the killer intends to murder 7 women in 7 days. The fast pace works well, even if the 7/7 concept doesn't feel quite reasonable. Nico, however, is an engaging character with an ulcer from the stress of his job, a depressed ex-wife, a teen-age son, and a good relationship with his sister.
My quibbles: murders do not have to be gruesome to be effective and love interests need time to develop. Have I mentioned those qualifications before? I thought so.
Translations are interesting. If you can't read the original language, it is impossible to be sure about language and style, but I've read several translations by Anne Trager, (one that I still need to review), and the styles are very different--which leads me to believe that Ms. Trager has given me an accurate sense of the individual author's style.
Note: Winner of France's prestigious Prix du Quai des Orfèvres prize for best crime fiction, named Best Crime Fiction Novel of the Year.
Crime/Police Procedural. 2012. Print version: 225 pages.