cover image Seven Days

Seven Days

Patrick Senécal, trans. from the French by Howard Scott and Phyllis Aronoff. Simon & Schuster Canada, $16 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-9821-0261-6

Soon after the murder of the seven-year-old daughter of physician Bruno Hamel, the protagonist of this horrific thriller from Senécal (Against God), Anthony Lemaire, a serial pedophile rapist, is arrested for the crime. Frustrated by the justice system and incensed by Lemaire’s smile, Hamel decides to take matters into his own hands. Thanks to a clever plan, Hamel steals the police vehicle transporting Lemaire and takes the killer to a remote Quebec village where he has rented a house under a false name. By phone, he informs Det. Sgt. Hervé Mercure, the book’s one decent person, that he plans to torture Lemaire for seven days and then kill him. Amid explicit torture scenes, Hamel’s sanity slowly unravels as he drinks himself into oblivion. Meanwhile, Mercure’s colleagues lack the will to try to save the life of a man who has confessed to raping and killing several little girls. Senécal asks big questions about the nature of humanity, but he shocks more than he inspires reflection in the reader. Agent: Patrick Leimgruber, Agence Goodwin (Canada). (Jan.)