Death from the Woods

Brigitte Aubert, Author, David L. Koral, Translator
Brigitte Aubert, Author, David L. Koral, Translator Welcome Rain Publishers $24.95 (279p) ISBN 978-1-56649-109-9
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Paperback - 279 pages - 978-0-425-17905-5
Hardcover - 314 pages - 978-0-7531-6577-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 248 pages - 978-0-425-20733-8
Hardcover - 308 pages - 978-0-340-79417-3
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In centering her thriller around a main character who is not only a quadriplegic but blind and mute as well, French author Aubert sets herself a difficult task, but she acquits herself brilliantly. While on vacation in Ireland, 36-year-old Elise Andrioli is horribly injured in Belfast by a car bomb that kills her boyfriend and five others. Back at home in the suburbs of Paris, the French cinema owner is confined to a wheelchair, but she can still hear and think. Elise's astute thoughts, together with the crisp dialogue of the people she encounters and her keen and often humorous commentary on their one-sided conversations with her, fuel this dazzling whodunit. Befriended by Virginie, an odd little girl who whispers terrifying observations about someone she's dubbed ""Death from the Woods,"" Elise learns the grisly details of a series of child murders, including that of Virginie's older half-brother, Renaud. When the precocious child admits that she knows who the culprit is, Elise is plunged into a dizzying universe. Virginie, her parents and the investigator in pursuit of the killer all confide in her. As Elise makes physical progress from her single method of communicating-lifting an index finder to signal ""yes""-to regaining some dexterity in her left hand and arm, the plot becomes increasingly complicated. Elise suspects first one and then another of the adults in Virginie's world of committing the heinous crimes, and finally she becomes a target herself. Throughout the intensely suspenseful story, chock-full of unexpected twists and turns, Aubert expertly captures the myriad frustrations of someone confined by severe physical limitations. Never stooping to melodrama or pity, she uses Elise's marvelous sense of humor and intellect to create an unforgettable character. (Feb.)
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