Book Review: After The Crash by Michel Bussi

A SOLE SURVIVOR…

A BABY GIRL.

BUT WHO IS SHE?

The question haunts the reader till the very end of the book. What makes a good thriller? Well, for me, it increases the adrenaline rush in the body, fastens the readers to the edge of their seats in anticipation of what is to come and prohibits the readers to put down the book until the last page of the book.

It is often very strenuous to write a thriller where unpredictability, anxiety to know what happens next, keeps the readers hooked and where the twists in the plot throws the readers off their seats for a while. At last, Michel Bussi has written a thriller which keeps the readers’ awake all night to discover “WHO IS SHE?”

To say the least, the premise of the story is intriguing and appealing. A plane crashes on the Franco – Swiss border on the night of 22 December 1980. No one survives the crash except a three-month old girl. Christened as Firefly, Lylie; her survival raises a plethora of questions; chief among them is who is she? “Funnily enough, there had been two babies on the plane: two young French girls, born on almost the same date.

Lyse-Rose de Carville, born 27 September, 1980

Emilie Vitral, born 30 September, 1980

Is she one of the de Carvilles or flesh and blood of the Vitrals?

The question that intrigues everyone is; who is this miracle child? Whether, she is the last surviving heiress of the powerful de Carville Empire or the flesh and blood of the Vitrals. Thus begins the rivalry between the de Carvilles and Vitrals that spans throughout the book and the uncertainty surrounding Lylie’s origins. The case that divided France into two, “It was, in the crudest possible terms, a battle between the rich and the poor.” Vitrals becomes the legal guardians of Lylie however; the shadow of doubt doesn’t leave them, “What if that miracle child, the flesh of your flesh, the fruit of your loins, is not yours after all?

Hired by Mathilde de Carville, the only task assigned to Grand-Duc is to find the truth behind Lylie’s origins and he has eighteen years to discover the truth. “Emilie grew up. She had the Vitrals’ blue eyes and the de Carvilles’ refined tastes. The kindness of the Vitrals … and the money of the de Carvilles. Go figure…

Eighteen years later…

Eighteen years later, on 29 September 1998, Grand-Duc prepares to shoot himself to end the misery that has consumed the eighteen precious years of his life as the truth has eluded him till now. Till he unfolds the 23 December 1980 edition of the Est Republicain which finally unravels the truth. However, before he could disclose the same to either of the two families, he is murdered.

The life of Lyse- Rose or Emilie or Lylie is narrated chiefly through the entries recorded by Credule Grand-Duc in his journal and through Marc Vitral (Emilie’s brother), Malvina de Carville (Lyse Rose’s sisters) and their grandparents. Throughout the book, Lylie is mostly talked about, gazed upon as the readers always see her from the eyes of various dramatis personae. Emilie, like Marc, was blonde and, like Marc, she had blue eyes. But while Marc’s gestures and expressions were clumsy, simple, unoriginal, there was a je-ne-sais-quoi about Emilie, a strikingly different way of moving, a kind of nobility in the way she held her head, a pure-bred elegance and grace that seemed to suggest aristocratic genes, a privileged education. And that was not the only mystery. In terms of money, Emilie’s standard of living appeared to be the very opposite of Marc’s.” The mystery continues.

Building meta fiction within fiction, sub plots within the plot, the author creates three mysteries within one; the murder of Grand-Duc, the mystery shrouding the death/ accident of Marc’s grandfather and Lylie’s decision vis-a-vis ‘one-way trip’. Walking in Grand-Duc’s shoes, Marc becomes the ultimate detective. Following the clues left by Grand-Duc in his journal, undertaking the journey he has taken, re-tracing the red-herrings Grand-Duc has uncovered, will Marc be able to discover the truth behind Lylie’s origins.

Fast-paced, gripping, exhilarating and entertaining; there is never is a dull moment in the book. Full of tension, red-herrings, plot twists and cliffhangers, the climax of After the Crash is befitting and doesn’t disappoint as happens with so many thrillers.

After the Crash manages to thrill and astound readers and keeps them at edge till the end of the book. Incredible, the book is recommended to the fans of Stieg Larsson and those interested in crime thrillers.

Title: After the Crash

Author: Michel Bussi

Publisher: Orion Publishing Group

Pages: 386

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 5/5

Buy it from: Amazon Flipkart

About the Author:

Michel Bussi, the winner of fifteen literary awards, a French writer of detective novels, a political analyst and Professor of Geograhy, was also one of the ten bestselling French writers of 2013. His novel, After the Crash is to be translated into twenty-six languages around the world and is his first book to be published in the UK.

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