Review - THE 7TH WOMAN, Frédérique Molay (translated by Anne Trager)
Le French Book have released some excellent French crime fiction, translated into English, of which THE 7TH WOMAN by Frédérique Molay is already an international bestseller. As the blurb puts it "Winner of France's prestigious Prix du Quai des Orfèvres prize for best crime fiction, named Best Crime Fiction Novel of the Year, and already an international bestseller with over 150,000 copies sold."
A police procedural built around Chief of Police Nico Sirsky, there is a serial killer stalking and killing women in a macabre and vicious manner. The connection between these woman is obscure, and seems to be pointing towards some highly specialised knowledge. Right into the heart of Sirsky's family. The pressure is further ramped up because this killer is leaving messages that indicate he's going to kill 7 women in 7 days. And it's up to Sirsky to catch him.
Despite the serial killer storyline having been done to death, there's aspects here that help lift it - the personal grudge of killer against cop isn't that surprising, although the pathways into making this a very personal investigation are unusual. The new love under threat aspect again isn't that new, but the complication of the ex-wife and the teenage son make for something a little different. The character of Sirsky is your classic divorced, lonely, suddenly smitten older man, who is balancing a complicated relationship with his ex-wife and teenage son. His attraction to a new love interest is touching and nicely balanced, even with some obvious threats and implications.
This is now sounding like there wasn't a lot to like about THE 7TH WOMAN which is very far from the truth. Around the predictable elements, this was a strong character study, and a solid procedural with a really involving and interesting supporting cast, and a very strong, central investigator of the rumpled, slightly lost type. For anybody interested in crime fiction from other locales, then the Paris Homicide series would be well worth looking for. THE 7TH WOMAN is the first book, followed by CROSSING THE LINE and, due for release in 2015, THE CITY OF BLOOD.
There's no rest for Paris's top criminal investigation division, La Crim'. Who is preying on women in the French capital? How can he kill again and again without leaving any clues? A serial killer is taking pleasure in a macabre ritual that leaves the police on tenterhooks. Chief of Police Nico Sirsky—a super cop with a modern-day real life, including an ex-wife, a teenage son, and a budding love story—races against the clock to solve the murders as they get closer and closer to his inner circle. Will he resist the pressure?
The story grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the last page, leading you behind the scenes with the French police and into the coroner’s office. It has the suspense of Seven with CSI-like details. You will never experience Paris the same way again!