Last year, I read Bernard Minier's The Frozen Dead and enjoyed the creepiness of the asylum in the Pyrenees and the grotesque crime that Commandant Martin Servaz must investigate--the murder of a valuable horse belonging to a French billionaire. Initially, Servaz is put out at having to investigate the death of a horse, but soon the killer escalates, the horse was a preface--a warning, a symbol. People die, the suspense increases, and disturbing elements of revenge keep the tension high.
Last week, an ARC of The Circle, Minier's next in the series, arrived in the mail, and I found myself again immersed in a taut thriller as Servaz investigates a murder in the small academic town where his daughter is enrolled at an elite institution.
Complications: the suspected murderer is the son of the woman Servaz loved in his youth and never quite gotten over; the escaped killer Julius Hirtman from the previous novel may have played a role in the death of the young teacher; a mysterious "circle" among students may put Servaz's daughter in danger....
Interspersed with the narrative of the current investigation are sections from the pov of a woman held prisoner by a twisted individual.
The characters are well-developed (I liked the inclusion of Elias and Servaz's daughter Margot and of characters from the previous novel, even if mentioned only by name); the plot moves at breakneck speed, even with the diversions of different strands; and the psychological suspense is intense. Tangled situations kept me guessing!
As in the first novel, the translator is Alison Anderson, and again, she does a great job.
ARC from Minotaur Books.
Crime/Police Procedural/Suspense. Oct. 27, 2015. 470 pages.