Wednesday, June 22, 2011

REVIEW: Fatale, by Jean-Patrick Manchette

Fatale, by Jean-Patrick Manchette. Published 2011 by NYRB Classics. Fiction. Crime Fiction. Translation.

So I guess this week has become, unofficially, NYRB Classics week at Boston Bibliophile! I did not plan this, but I can hardly think of a worthier publisher to focus on. I should have planned a spotlight week!

Well, there are plenty more NYRB titles in my TBR pile so maybe I will someday.

For now, I'll tell you about Fatale, a new release by French writer Jean-Patrick Manchette, a crime novel focusing on a young woman who calls herself Aimée, a career criminal who's set her sights on a small French town and its unsuspecting denizens. The novel follows her as she prepares to launch a crime- what crime, and why, we don't know until the end. But we watch her lay her groundwork. She rents an apartment; she shops; she gets to know the locals. Where is this going?

Fatale is a very short novel so you won't have to wait long to find out. In the end, as the blurb will tell you, her plot is undone but not before some staggering violence and scandal even she doesn't suspect. She becomes attached to one of the townspeople in a way she doesn't expect, and she gets more than she bargains for in this provincial backwater- and so do we readers.

Fatale is another one of those great beach books for the literary reader. It's expertly crafted and will pull you right along from its ambiguous beginning through its gruesome dénouement. Aimée is a compelling creation and her story will keep you turning the pages. I just wish there were more pages to turn; it's barely a novella, and I would have loved to watch more of her adventures unfold.

Rating: BEACH

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.