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by Michel Bussi

Pub Date: Aug. 17th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-60945-519-4
Publisher: World Noir

A daring robbery in Normandy gets tangled with a mystery of a much more unlikely kind.

Malone Moulin is only 3 1/2, but he tells everyone who’ll listen that his mother, Amanda Moulin, isn’t really his mother. One of the people who listens is school psychologist Vasily Dragonman, who brings the clues Malone keeps saying he hears from Gouti, his beloved stuffed agouti, to the attention of Capt. Marianne Augresse of the Le Havre police. The story is nonsense, of course—Amanda and Dimitri Moulin have extensive documentation going back to a birth certificate proving that Malone is their son—and at any rate Marianne is already preoccupied with the high-stakes robberies of four exclusive boutiques evidently planned down to the smallest detail by four thieves working together. Two of the presumed robbers, local lowlifes Cyril and Ilona Lukowik, soon turn up dead, and a third, Timo Soler, has gone to ground somewhere with a police officer’s bullet in his chest. But who is the fourth? Marianne suspects wanted killer Alexis Zerda, but her officers can’t find him. As the search widens and the trail grows bloodier, Marianne, whose downtime from her job is fueled by her addiction to the interactive website, finds her questions multiplying until at length she realizes that the two cases she’s been struggling to juggle are one case after all. Bussi piles on the twists with a sovereign indifference to plausibility, though savvy readers will see many of them coming. What they won’t see in advance is the nuanced compassion for almost everyone involved in the mind-boggling fraud at the heart of the mystery.

Brainy, exciting, and humane.