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Book review: <i>Crossing The Line</i> by Frederique Molay

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the cover of the book

Nico Sirsky is back, recovering nicely from his last brush with a killer. His next case? An apparent suicide takes an unexpected turn. Can Nico uncover the twisted intentions of a very determined killer?

The story

Nico is in a good place in his life. His relationship with Caroline is going well, and his son is happy. Nico’s injury from his previous adventure is on track, and he is in the middle of working a high profile jewellery case. The only fly in the ointment is his ex-wife’s disappearance, but he’s working on that as well.

The straightforward peace of Nico’s current investigation wasn’t likely to last. He is summoned to Commissioner Nicole Monthalet’s office to investigate a strange case: a body donated to science at the Paris Descartes University has revealed foul play, in the form of a hidden note. It turned out the apparent suicide wasn’t so clear cut, and Nico has to determine whether the students at Descartes are playing a joke or whether in fact murder was afoot.

As Nico investigates, he realises this is no simple murder investigation. In following the ingenious murder of a man and his even more ingenious way of attempting to reveal his killers, Nico discovers a multilayered plot with a killer who is so uniquely motivated he’s almost impossible to uncover. Can Nico prevent further deaths before it’s too late?

The style

I am a big fan of Molay. Stylistically, she’s an elegant writer (most likely assisted in this edition by the translator Anne Trager). Sometimes a sentence isn’t quite right, but these are far and few between and completely forgivable. The imagery around Paris is beautiful; seasonal and magical without being overly romanticised. Nico is a greatly sympathetic character, with all the right three dimensional humanity to keep the reader engaged with him. The story is worth reading just for the characterisation and the setting, it’s an easy pleasure to read.

To further add to the good points of characterisation and setting, the story isn’t shabby either. It’s well paced, intriguing, and realistic – in that the cops get tired, work around the clock under trying conditions, and are put under enormous pressure. Let’s be honest, I read a lot of crime fiction. A LOT. And what I particularly like about Molay is the incorporation of the hierarchy involved in police work. Nico has to deal with prosecutors, judges, the press, the whole lot, and it feels very authentic and well researched (although what do I know about the French justice system?) It’s like Law and Order, but feels more real. This is good, solid, French crime.

Who is this book for?

This is a light, easy read. Good for fans of the crime genre, it has enough intrigue and plot to satisfy the avid reader.

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This isn’t Molay’s first rodeo. He’s written other books about Nico, and they’re also very good.

In short

Title: Crossing The Line
Author: Frederique Molay
Publisher: Le French Book
ISBN: 1939474140
Year published: 2014
Pages: 224
Genre(s): Crime fiction
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