Publication Date: Mar 12, 2019
This atmospheric noir novel retraces the steps that led to a murder off the coast of Brittany, probing the relationship between law and justice.
In a depressed town on France’s northern coast, a man named Martial Kermeur has been arrested for the murder of real estate developer Antoine Lazenec after throwing him overboard. Called before a judge, Kermeur goes back to the beginning to explain what brought him to this desperate point: his divorce, his son’s acting out, layoffs at his job, and, above all, Lazenec’s dazzling project for a seaside resort. The temptation to invest all of your severance pay in a beautiful apartment with a view of the sea is great. But of course, this is only a plan in the works—or is it?
In this subtle, enthralling novel, Tanguy Viel examines not only the psychology of a crime, but also the larger social ills that may offer its justification.
Excerpt from Article 353
I was in a good position to see Antoine Lazenec coming, with those pointy shoes of his. I don’t know why, but I’ve never liked shoes with pointed toes, those Italian shoes that look polished even in the rain. And it’s not as if I was in the habit of starting with people’s feet when I met them, but I was cutting the estate lawn and had my head down watching the mower move across the grass without hearing much of anything around me, so the first thing I saw were his leather shoes on the path, and also because they were so black and shiny against the white gravel. So I looked up and saw a guy, not too tall and almost bald, wearing a black jacket with his shirt collar open like a Parisian. He was looking at me without really smiling, waiting for me to turn the mower off. When I cut the motor there was this sudden silence, and he just said, Is all this for sale?
I could hear him jingling keys in his pocket while he looked at the château, as if he had taken in the whole property at a glance, the five acres facing the sea and the old freestone building, in a single “all this,” and was already appropriating it. I could see his ivory or cream- colored sports car behind him gleaming in the sun, because it was sunny that day, see—we do get sunshine around here sometimes.
Yes, it’s for sale, I said. The château and the five acres of the grounds, it’s all for sale.
There was a silence as the two of us stood in the shade of the building, me wiping the damp grass off the mower blade, him standing in the calm weather—there was hardly any wind that day—with his hands still in his pockets.
I could tell he was expecting something, so I said: Are you here to see the place?
“A powerful novel by an author who has become a master in the use of all the shades of gray.” —TÉLÉRAMA
“[Viel] has a lot of talent…A great book.” —L’OBS
“Captivating and striking, Tanguy Viel’s writing never lets us go.” —LIBÉRATION