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Extended Audio Sample Syndrome E, by Franck Thilliez Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (526 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Franck Thilliez Narrator: Gildart Jackson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The classic police procedural meets cutting-edge science in this huge international bestseller.

Already a runaway bestseller in France, Syndrome E tells the story of beleaguered detective Lucie Henebelle, whose old friend has developed a case of spontaneous blindness after watching an extremely rare—and violent—film from the 1950s. Embedded in the film are subliminal images so unspeakably heinous that Lucie realizes she must get to the bottom of it—especially when nearly everyone who comes into contact with the film starts turning up dead.

Enlisting the help of Inspector Franck Sharko—a brooding, broken analyst for the Paris police who is exploring the film’s connection to five murdered men left in the woods—Lucie begins to strip away the layers of what is perhaps the most disturbing and powerful film ever made. Soon Sharko and Lucie find themselves mired in a darkness that spreads across politics, religion, science, and art while stretching from France to Canada, Egypt to Rwanda, and beyond. And just who is responsible for this darkness will blow listeners’ minds, as Syndrome E forces them to consider: What if the earliest and most brilliant advances and discoveries of neuroscience were not used for good but for evil?

With this taut US debut, Thilliez explores the origins of violence through cutting-edge and popular science in a breakneck thriller rich with shocking plot twists and profound questions about the nature of humanity.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Blending science and neurology into the intrigue of his excellent thriller, Thilliez takes us into the maze of the human brain, with all the evils it can unleash.”

    Elle (Paris)

  • “Here’s something different for American listeners, a gripping horror-suspense novel from acclaimed French author Franck Thilliez. Be warned: it’s gruesome. The audiobook benefits greatly from the performance of narrator Gildart Jackson, a TV and film actor with great range and skill. He moves easily from a French accent to Egyptian and Canadian accents, making each character distinct. His subtlety makes the descriptions of horrible experiments even more frightening as ruthless scientists try to determine what causes people to fly into murderous rages. The emotionally damaged detective, from “Columbo” to “Monk,” is common stock in mysteries, so the foibles of detective Franck Sharko will not shock listeners.”


  • “A tour de force…A captivating plot that keeps the reader in his seat until the final moments.” 

    Le Monde Magazine

  • “Franck Thilliez leads his story like a beating drum, multiplying the reverberations without ever losing track of the psychological development of his characters…A reflection on the origins of violence that is as playful as it is erudite. Essential reading!” 

    Metro (Paris)

  • “Spare evocative prose propels French author Thilliez’s stellar US debut…This is a crackerjack story that most readers will devour in one sitting.” 

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Thilliez delivers crisp prose and a scorching plot that takes readers from the lively streets of Paris to the deadly Egyptian desert.” 


  • “With a fascinating blend of noir procedural, espionage flavor, and an eerie setup that makes the video from The Ring seem harmless, it is no surprise that Syndrome E has already been an international sensation. Beneath its dazzling, byzantine plot are menacing questions of what lurks at the intersection between the new and chilling capabilities of neuroscience and the ancient but more-chilling capabilities of human evil.”

    Michael Koryta, author of A Welcome Grave

  • “This novel boasts distinctive characters you want to spend time with, a lively plot, evocative settings, fun film references and, icing on the cake, an enjoyable offbeat romance.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Gildart Jackson’s gentle, well-paced, fully voiced, polished reading is perfect for this excellent, complex story about two smart, sensitive, very human professionals who solve an almost unsolvable series of crimes. Outstanding. Don’t miss this one.” 


  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, August 2012
  • SoundCommentary.com’s The Best of the Best, 2013

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lucy | 1/28/2014

    " VERY SCARY... Perfect for the plane when you are reading the book in a controlled environment so you don't get too paranoid. It produces feeling of fear, nausea, dread and dare we say it, acceptance of government mind control. The author is French, and one of the reviews of the book in Good Reads is written in Spanish, so the thriller is getting viewer response from around the world. The English translator is a little pedantic, but let that not deter thee. The part of the book which ifs set in Egypt is fascinating and quite pro tempore. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by David | 1/21/2014

    " My first reading of this author. He sets up an interesting premise with a set of gruesome murders somehow connected to a mysterious film that's so shocking a viewer goes blind while watching it. There's a lot to like about this novel but with a story this heavy with plot the author leaves himself with no choice but to have two characters (one of whom is the villain) give long, precisely detailed recitations of events from decades before so as to move the story along. I always see passages such as these as something of a cheat when reading suspense novels-the best don't require them as the plot unfolds so smoothly that you are informed without a clumsy 2-3 pages of explication and revelation. Overall, a pleasant diversion but not particularly outstanding. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Carol | 1/10/2014

    " Intrigue, danger and a touch of romance: what more can you ask for? Thilliez delivers a riveting plot to the final page. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rose | 12/22/2013

    " Wow!! Why aren't more of this author's books translated to English? I really liked this book. Great story telling and such an intriguing mystery. It had a flare of Stieg Larsson without being a copycat. I'm looking forward to reading more from Franck Thilliez in the future. "

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About the Author

Franck Thilliez is the author of several bestselling novels in his native France. Syndrome E was his first novel to be translated into English in the United States.