cover image Syndrome E

Syndrome E

Franck Thilliez, trans. from the French by Mark Polizzotti. Viking, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-670-02578-7

Spare evocative prose propels French author Thilliez’s stellar U.S. debut. When French film buff Ludovic Sénéchal goes blind after viewing an old short he picked up at an estate sale in Lille, Belgium, he calls ex-girlfriend Lucie Henebelle, a police lieutenant in Lille. Lucie, who’s preoccupied with the illness of one of her daughters, views the mysterious film without losing her vision, though she’s shaken by its violent, disturbing images. Meanwhile, Chief Insp. Franck Sharko of the Paris Violent Crimes unit, who lost his wife and daughter five years earlier “in horrible circumstances,” must sort out how five bodies, each missing the top of its skull, ended up buried in a riverbank in a small town near Le Havre. Once Lucie and Sharko discover a link between their two investigations, they embark on a worldwide voyage toward the chilling truth. This is a crackerjack story that most readers will devour in one sitting. Agent: Aurélie Laure, international rights director, Univers Poche. (Aug.)