Syndrome E by Franck ThilliezMy rating: Thriller
Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)
Syndrome E is not for the faint-hearted. There were times when I had to put this book down to read something lighter, as the violent imagery and graphic descriptions started to get to me after a while. There's also a lot of sexual content, and the sex and violence aren't always distinct.
The story starts with a film collector, blinded by a rare short he picked up in an attic sale. In his sightless panic, he calls a random number on his phone, and gets through to ex-girlfriend Lucie. Since she's a police officer who habitually pursues the truth with a dogged determination, she immediately commits herself to solving the mystery, even though she's technically on vacation. And it doesn't take long before her "case" starts overlapping with an ongoing murder investigation, bringing Lucie into contact with criminal profiler (and closet schizophrenic) Sharko. Lucie and Sharko are both hardened cops who struggle to make space for family life, and both have good insight into the people they meet, which makes their interactions into a complex game.
As their investigations progress there's a seamless blending of genuine history, conspiracy theory, and slightly sci-fi science, which is an addictive combination for me. It's also a pretty quick read - despite needing to step away sometimes, I still finished it in about three days. Chilling, terrifying, but absolutely compelling.