‘Alex’ by Pierre Lemaitre

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A positively thrilling read! Lemaitre’s ‘Alex’ is completely unpredictable, keeping its reader on edge at every moment. With its realistic structure and spot on descriptions of gruesome and criminal events, ‘Alex’ depicts a life-like thriller of kidnapping, torture and murder, and its ominous nature is precisely what makes this novel so exciting. Lemaitre seems to prioritise his readers’ interest and focus; jumping from crime scene to crime investigation, he ensures that the reader is kept interested, wanting to uncover more with every page and, simultaneously, representing the complex nature of the big bad world.

Despite its hectic course of events, ‘Alex’ is very easy to follow and troubled characters easy to understand, enabling its readers to get a grasp on the constant and disorientating plot twists. Alex Provost (or whichever one of her names you personally prefer) is introduced as a humble, independent and closed figure with a background of bullying and a lack of acceptance for her physical appearance. This is exactly where Lemaitre previews his crafty writing style; by attaching the reader to the innocent character, he ensures that we remain attached even when we find out the dark reality of her problematic existence. Also, by killing off the initial villain who develops into the victim, we are left favouring the morally incorrect person. Lemaitre somewhat crosses social boundaries in this respect and that’s exactly why this novel is so refreshing.

We are given a classic ending to this thriller – with questions unanswered. ‘Alex’ as a whole is full of questions and, by the end, it becomes a love/hate relationship between ourselves and Lemaitre; we hate that we don’t exactly know the cause of Alex’s death, but we receive just about enough information to form a logical ending in our heads; one that suits us best.

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