In 1999, after publishing three cult novels, celebrated author Nathan Fawles announces the end of his writing career and withdraws to Beaumont, a wild and beautiful island off the Mediterranean coast.
Autumn 2018. As Fawles’ novels continue to captivate readers, Mathilde Monney, a young Swiss journalist, arrives on the island, determined to unlock the writer’s secrets and secure his first interview in twenty years.
That same day, a woman’s body is discovered on the beach and the island is cordoned off by the authorities.
And so, begins a dangerous face off between Mathilde and Nathan, in which the line between truth and fiction becomes increasingly blurred…
My thoughts: this was a very clever and engaging thriller set on a small French island in the Mediterranean. Reclusive writer Nathan Fawles has retreated there, out of the spotlight but journalist on a quest – Mathilde Monney is determined to get some answers. But she isn’t who she claims to be and the crimes she’s investigating are long forgotten by many. Alongside this aspiring writer Raphael becomes Nathan’s ally, with deadly consequences.
I thought this was incredibly well written and really drew me in, I would have liked more about the island and its inhabitants, they felt very lightly sketched, but since most of them aren’t involved with the goings on that Mathilde and Nathan discuss, I suppose it wasn’t necessary to delve deep into them.
The shocking twists and turns that Nathan, Mathilde and Raphael dig up as they carry out their investigations and reveal their roles in the past are both outrageous and surprisingly realistic. We know terrible things happened in the Balkans during the Serbian war and are still being revealed and declassified. The characters might think the world has moved on but some evils linger.
There’s a lot of metatextuality to the book, references to other authors and novels, the inclusion of a fictitious version of the book’s author, wrapped as a metafictive device. Even the use of newspaper articles and web pages add to the differing levels of text used. It’s all very cleverly done and for a literature nerd like me, adds extra enjoyment to a solid thriller.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.