cover image The Panda Theory

The Panda Theory

Pascal Garnier, trans. from the French by Gallic Books. Gallic (, $12.95 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-906040-42-0

In this taut, low-key thriller, French author Garnier’s first crime novel to be translated into English, a man calling himself Gabriel wanders into a small Breton village, his urge to kill—for the moment—held in check. Who can say what will ignite the impulse? Winning a stuffed panda with a show of skill at the shooting gallery at the carnival? Or nothing at all? The people he meets at his residence hotel and in cafes don’t have a glimmer of the nightmarish images that haunt his thoughts; instead, they believe they have found a new friend. Although Garnier (1949–2010) once stated in an article for his French publisher that he didn’t pay attention to categories (“Books labeled as noir or white, whatever—I’ve never been interested in that particular apartheid”), this novel is dark enough to sink the hook deep into fans of noir. (Feb.)