In this terrific French thriller, a veteran Paris profiler struggling with paranoid schizophrenia and a lonely female police detective are brought together by a series of gruesome murders that have something to do with an old experimental film containing disturbing subliminal images.
Chief Inspector Franck Sharko is a medicated mess. His wife, who died with their daughter in a horrific accident, appears to him in taunting visions; he runs toy trains in his apartment to blot out sounds in his head. But he's a lot better off than five men who were buried with the tops of their heads cut off and their brains removed. Detective Lucie Hennebelle, a single mom whose daughter is in the hospital with a mysterious ailment, has two patients to attend to after an old boyfriend of hers is blinded by an experimental movie he bought in a house sale. After others who have had contact with the film are murdered—one of them is hung with the film strips of Good Day for a Hanging—Lucie follows a lead to Montreal, where the film was shot in the '50s and at least one of the girls who appeared in it still lives. Sharko is sent to Egypt, where three girls were victimized in the same manner as the five men, and his own life is threatened. Teaming up in Canada, the investigators learn about the little-known phenomenon of Syndrome E—the inducement of hysteria and violence through sensory control—and its possible role in mass killings. The Nazis, the French Legion and the CIA all have had a stake in the film experiments. This novel boasts distinctive characters you want to spend time with, a lively plot, evocative settings, fun film references and, icing on the cake, an enjoyable offbeat romance.
Having achieved bestseller status in Europe, Thilliez is poised to do the same in the U.S.