Tanguy Viel translated from the French by William Rodarmor

Article 353

A Novel

Article 353

Publication Date: Mar 12, 2019

160 pp

Trade Paperback

List Price US $15.99
Trim Size (H x W): 5.25 x 8
ISBN: 978-1-59051-933-2


List Price US $9.99
ISBN: 978-1-59051-934-9

Best International Crime Novel of the Year – Crime Reads / Lit Hub

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?

That’s right.

“Sharp and memorable…a dark fable that reads like one of Georges Simenon’s “romans durs” or psychological novels, which winningly fuse together lean prose, queasy atmospherics, raw emotion and moral conundrums…[Viel] satisfies with a potent concoction of mystery, complexity and tightly coiled tension.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune  

“Mesmerizing and powerful…a biting social drama, a gripping psychological thriller and an incisive morality tale…elegantly written, there is a beautiful simplicity of style that makes this so readable you will probably want to devour it in one sitting.” —NB
“[A] beguiling noir…Arresting metaphors enliven the spare prose…Viel should win new American fans with this elegant effort.” —Publishers Weekly

“Fresh and absorbing…grippingly told.” —Library Journal

“A surgically slim masterpiece…everything crime fiction used to be and ought to be…a brilliant story.” —The Durango Telegraph

“A spare and lyrical tale of revenge and injustice.” —CrimeReads, 14 Crime Novels to Read This Month

“[Article 353] reads effortlessly and grippingly…an exceptionally well-written novel that completely and easily sucks the reader in.” —The Complete Review

“A subtle interrogation of the ways justice is conceived of and delivered.” —Ploughshares