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Download Irène: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Irène: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy Audiobook, by Pierre Lemaitre Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Pierre Lemaitre Narrator: Peter Noble Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy Release Date: December 2014 ISBN: 9781623659813
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Pierre Lemaitre is known for writing crime fiction with an alchemical mix of white-knuckle intensity, fearlessly unconventional plotting, and psychologically intricate character development. In Irène Lemaitre ingeniously uses five contemporary and classic literary murder scenes—from William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw to Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho—as the framework on which to craft a diabolical prequel to his Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger Award-winning novel Alex.

Camille Verhoeven, whose diminutive stature belies his fierce intensity, has reached an unusually content (for him) place in life. He is respected by his colleagues, and he and his lovely wife, Irène, are expecting their first child.

But when a new murder case hits his desk—a double torture-homicide that’s so extreme even the most seasoned officers are horrified—Verhoeven is overcome with a sense of foreboding.

As links emerge between the bloody set-piece and at least one past unsolved murder, it becomes clear that a calculating serial killer is at work. The press has a field day, taking particular pleasure in putting Verhoeven under the media spotlight (and revealing uncomfortable details of his personal life).

Then Verhoeven makes a breakthrough discovery: the murders are modeled after the exploits of serial killers from classic works of crime fiction. The double murder was an exquisitely detailed replication of a scene from Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, and one of the linked cold cases was a faithful homage to James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia.

The media circus reaches a fever pitch when the modus operandi of the killer, dubbed “The Novelist,” is revealed. Worse, the Novelist has taken to writing taunting letters to the police, emphasizing that he will stop leaving any clues behind unless Verhoeven remains on the case. For reasons known only to the killer, the case has become personal. With more literature-inspired murders surfacing, Verhoeven enlists the help of an eccentric bookseller and a professor specializing in crime fiction to try to anticipate his adversary’s next move. Then Irène is kidnapped.

With time running out, Verhoeven realizes that all along he’s been the unwitting dupe in the Novelist’s plans to create an original work of his own. Now the only person in the world the commandant truly cares for is in danger, and a happy ending seems less and less likely as it becomes clear that the winner of this deadly game may be the man with the least to lose.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Last year I raved about Lemaitre's first published crime novel Alex, but this second - which was, in fact, the first he wrote, as it introduces his detective, Commandant Verhoeven - is even better. Quirky, brutal and not for the faint-hearted, it is crime fiction of the highest class... Superbly constructed and executed, it puts Lemaitre very close to Ellroy's class. If you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down. Geoffery Wansell, Daily Mail
  • Verhoeven is a one-of-a-kind detective . . . Not for the faint of heart, this gritty thriller will appeal to fans of Chelsea Cain, for the grisly details, and Fred Vargas, for the French setting and iconoclastic sleuth. Kirkus Reviews
  • gripping Bookish
  • “Mr. Lemaitre fires away in a prose style that’s like a flurry of short jabs to the solar plexus. His translator, Frank Wynne, skillfully renders the tough-guy slang, the police jargon, and the irrepressible zip of a narrative that unfolds, despite the copious gore, precisely and methodically. It’s a metronome set at allegro furioso.”

    The New York Times

  • Pierre Lemaitre's Alex earned rave reviews last year, not least for the way Lemaitre reworked the tropes of the conventional serial-killer novel to create a clever police procedural that worked as a superb thriller even as it confounded readers' expectations of the genre. The follow-up, Irene, is equally clever, as the diminutive Parisian detective Camille Verhoeven is initially confronted with a murder scene so horrific that it puts him in mind of Goya's Saturn Devouring his Son. Irish Times
  • Irène is compulsive reading . . . The narrative is fast-paced and the suspense unbearably taut. Thuy On, The Sidney Morning Herald
  • Irène gets off to a fast start and races pell-mell to a jaw-dropping conclusion . . . Mr. Lemaitre fires away in a prose style that's like a flurry of short jabs to the solar plexus. His translator, Frank Wynne, skillfully renders the tough-guy slang, the police jargon and the irrepressible zip of a narrative that unfolds, despite the copious gore, precisely and methodically. It's a metronome set at allegro furioso . . . Mr. Lemaitre pulls some unexpected strings, upending expectations with a flourish that readers will find either pure genius or too clever by half - or one and a half. Either way, by novel's end, Verhoeven needs a new title: meta-meta detective. William Grimes, The New York Times
  • Lemaitre's measured, intelligent approach to a police investigation rings of authenticity . . . But the real genius of this novel are the twists Lemaitre incorporates into the storyline, lifting it above the genre and into a different category entirely. A book that no matter how fast the reader connects the dots still produces a bombshell that's both brilliant and diabolical. Booklist (Starred Review)
  • French literary sensation Lemaitre earned comparisons to Stieg Larsson (and a 2013 CWA International Dagger Award) with Alex, a gruesome and twisty mashup of police procedural, thriller, and psychological horror. Its newly translated pre­decessor might be even better . . . [Irene is] hardly predictable, as [Lemaitre] pushes the pulse-quickening plot toward an ingenious-and shocking-finale. Library Journal
  • Irene is superior crime fiction, worthy of the international attention it has received . . . Once I accepted the novel's portrayals of violence, I found little to fault in Irene . . . The novel's closing chapters are as suspenseful and ultimatelyas shocking as the climax of any thriller I can recall; the final pages will leave readers numb. In Irene, violence ups the ante, and tough-minded writing carries the day. Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
  • Irène gets off to a fast start and races pell-mell to a jaw-dropping conclusion . . . Mr. Lemaitre fires away in a prose style that's like a flurry of short jabs to the solar plexus. The New York Times
  • In the imaginative, unsettling "Irène", readers will discover that French author Pierre Lemaitre has constructed a fine (if sometimes obscenely grisly) example of that genre-and then, in its last 40 pages, they will begin to realize that they have followed the author deep down a disorienting rabbit hole . . . Mr. Lemaitre toys with the genre's tropes-the disparate police team, the suspicious-seeming civilian experts, the red herring as huge as Moby Dick-to his own unpredictable purposes. He succeeds in having his conceptual gateauand eating it, too. The bibliophilic villain doesn't hesitate to call his book-this book-"a triumph . . . a harrowing, true-to-life tale, a metafiction that recounts the murderous machinations of its own creation." But let the reader beware: "Irène," with its dizzying final twist, may give you vertigo. Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal
  • Irène is superior crime fiction, worthy of the international attention it has received…The novel’s closing chapters are as suspenseful and ultimately as shocking as the climax of any thriller I can recall; the final pages will leave readers numb. In Irène, violence ups the ante, and tough-minded writing carries the day.”

    Washington Post

  • Irène is compulsive reading…The narrative is fast-paced and the suspense unbearably taut.”

    Sydney Morning Herald

  • “Lemaitre’s measured, intelligent approach to a police investigation rings of authenticity…But the real genius of this novel are the twists Lemaitre incorporates into the storyline, lifting it above the genre and into a different category entirely. A book that no matter how fast the reader connects the dots still produces a bombshell that’s both brilliant and diabolical.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A murder of unfathomable brutality, followed by another, puts Camille’s career on the line. The murderer, nicknamed the Novelist by the press, appears to be reenacting scenes from crime novels…Lemaitre slowly reveals the cracks in Camille’s police team while dismantling the detective’s life at home. The plot is unfailingly intriguing.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “French literary sensation Lemaitre earned comparisons to Stieg Larsson…with Alex, a gruesome and twisty mash-up of police procedural, thriller, and psychological horror. Its newly translated pre­decessor might be even better…[Irène is] hardly predictable, as [Lemaitre] pushes the pulse-quickening plot toward an ingenious and shocking finale.”

    Library Journal

  • “Verhoeven is a one-of-a-kind detective…Not for the faint of heart, this gritty thriller will appeal to fans of Chelsea Cain, for the grisly details, and Fred Vargas, for the French setting and iconoclastic sleuth.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Pierre Lemaitre has worked for many years as a literature teacher. His novels have earned him exceptional critical and public acclaim as a master of crime fiction and have won him the Prix du Premier Roman de Cognac 2006, the Prix du Meilleur Polar Francophone 2009, and the Prix du Polar Européen du Point 2010. Alex is his first novel to be translated into English and won the prestigious 2013 Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger Award. 

About the Narrator

Peter Noble grew up in South Africa and studied drama and music at the University of Cape Town. He worked extensively as an actor, touring South Africa with a small repertory theatre company, as well as working on radio, TV and film.