Review - Don't Let Go, Michel Bussi
It's probably not going to come as any surprise to find that DON'T LET GO jumped up the reading queue as quickly as possible, because every novel from Michel Bussi I've read now has been clever, different and intriguing. DON'T LET GO didn't disappoint, it's all of those things and more.
In it we have a family on holidays on the island of La Réunion. Liane leaves her husband Martial and their daughter poolside to head back to their hotel room for a short break and vanishes. There's blood everywhere in the hotel room, but no body. Right from the outset the statements of her husband don't match witness accounts, but there's no sign of Liane Bellion alive or dead. There's plenty of conjecture about murder, how her body could have been disposed of, and lots of suspicion over her husband's possible involvement, not helped when he takes his young daughter and effectively goes on the run.
All of which might sound a little odd, given it's a small island, but this is holiday home territory and Martial Bellion turns out to be a very resourceful man. As is the local cop who leads the chase for him. Despite the higher ups interfering, and the constant pressure to find Bellion, she's calm, methodical and more than a bit annoyed that she can't find the main suspect, the victim or why they are all in this situation in the first place.
DON'T LET GO is the sort of book that grabs the reader from the outset and confuses, confounds and pulls you in. As well as imagination running wild over what could have happened to Liane Bellion, there's never quite knowing what's the story with Martial. Has he killed his wife, in which case what's going to happen to their daughter? Is he a threat to her, or is he trying to save her from something that only he knows about? You're never really sure. But there are aspects of all the characters that confound, confuse and sometimes even annoy a bit.
All of this action, suspense and doubt is interwoven into a great sense of place, infused with the history and culture of Réunion Island, and the intricate social connections that become a big part of the overall story.
All of Michel Bussi's books that I've been fortunate enough to read so far are standalones, so you can dive in at any point. But once you're here, along with what I can't help but think will be an ever increasing fan base, you'll end up like the rest of us. Searching out earlier books and nudging the next to arrive straight to the top of the priority pile as soon as you can.
In an idyllic resort on the island of La Réunion, Liane Bellion and her husband Martial are enjoying the perfect moment with their 6-year-old daughter. Turquoise skies, blue sea, palm trees, a warm breeze.
Then Liane disappears. She went up to her hotel room between 3 and 4pm and never came back. Her husband, worried, had gone to the room along with the concierge - the room was empty but there was blood everywhere. Despite his protestations of innocence, the police view Martial as their prime suspect. He was the only other person who went to the hotel room between 3 and 4pm according to the staff of the hotel.
Then he disappears along with his daughter. With Martial as prime suspect, helicopters scan the island, racial tensions surface, and more corpses are found. Is he really his wife's killer? And if he isn't, why does he appear to be so guilty?