cover image Time Is a Killer

Time Is a Killer

Michel Bussi, trans. from the French by Shaun Whiteside. Europa, $18 trade paper (528p) ISBN 978-1-60945-442-5

In this gripping noir from Bussi (After the Crash), Clotilde, husband Franck, and their 15-year-old daughter, Valentine, take a vacation in Corsica, where, 27 years earlier, Clotilde survived a car crash that killed her mother, father, and only brother. When she revisits the scene and makes overtures to reconnect with her Corsican grandparents, Clotilde receives a freshly written letter in what appears to be her mother’s handwriting that triggers a spate of questions about her family’s fate. The dizzying spiral of recall and disconcerting events related to the crash are set off by entries from 15-year-old Clotilde’s diary from 1989, charting a narrative of teenage hormones, marital friction, and island politics that peaks with a devastating discovery of parental betrayal that led to the fatal crash. The climactic sequence, on the same fateful stretch of road, is a fine payoff. Bussi takes his time, maybe too much time, setting the stage and ratcheting up the tension between past and present, but manages to resolve most of the tangled relationships while keeping the reader intrigued. (Apr.)