‘Camille’ by Pierre Lemaitre

CamilleThis is the third novel in a series from Pierre Lemaitre focussing on Camille Verhoeven, a detective with the French police, of which I’ve only read one – ‘Alex’.

When Camille’s lover, Anne, is caught up in what seems to be a jewellery store robbery gone wrong and left with horrific injuries, he immediately breaks all the rules to take on the case. But what seems to have seen a simple robbery soon takes a more serious turn, as the perpetrator sets out to remove all witnesses who could tie him to the crime – including Ann.

As he attempts to keep Anne safe, Camille’s attempts to hide his involvement with her from his colleagues grow more and more frantic. He comes under increasing scrutiny from his team and his senior officers, threatening to derail his career and destroy his friendships. Despite this, he preserves on regardless, throwing caution to the wind as he grows more and more desperate.

Interspersed with Camille’s attempts to solve the case, we have some pretty creepy insights into the mind of the man he’s pursuing – who is clearly unhinged, dangerous and hell bent on stopping Camille in his tracks.

As the novel progresses, we soon see that Camille doesn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle, and that the person behind the events at the jewellery store may be closer to home than he thinks.

While I really enjoyed reading this book, I didn’t feel it had quite the same impact as ‘Alex’. Whereas that novel was about one particularly difficult and brutal case, with the police facing a ticking clock to add tension, this is much more of a personal story focused around the trials and tribulations of the central character, Camille. We get a more of an insight into his character, his emotions and how he thinks. Because of this, it’s a much narrower focus and for me, it felt like it was slightly slower to get off the mark.

Because of this, it took me a little while to really get into the story. But the pace soon picked up and there were plenty of twists, turns, drama and action to help to drive the plot along. I also liked the regular switches in viewpoints, as despite having an insight into the minds of both main characters, it gives them both the space to know things that the reader doesn’t.

All in all still a good read – but if like me you’ve already read and loved ‘Alex’ you might be slightly disappointed!

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