Monday, 25 November 2013

Of Fever and Blood

by Sire Cédric
Publishers Square (October 15, 2013)
369 pages - 7.99 $ (ebook)

After reading the first book L'enfant des cimetières and despite my mixed feelings due to the presence of children where I do not like to see them (see my review here), I wanted to try again reading Sire Cédric because, despite this concern, the book was very good. And as I don't like staying on an uncertainty, when the book Of Fever and Blood came out on NetGalley I took the opportunity to rediscover this so popular author. A thank you to Publishers Square and Open Road Media for the book!

The Blurb

This fast-paced, supernatural thriller is a race against time to defeat a deadly force.

Of Fever and Blood begins at the end of an investigation. Inspectors Vauvert and Svärta, an albino profiler, solve a series of sadistic ritual murders and the supposed culprits, the Salaville brothers, are killed in a standoff.

However, one year later, the killings start all over again, but this time in Paris. All forensic evidence point to the brothers, but how can that be?

Their investigation leads Svärta and Vauvert to Judith Saint-Clair, the deathly ill patient at a mental institution that also housed the Salavilles. They discover the incredible truth: Saint-Clair had manipulated the Salavilles into killing young women in order for her to accomplish magic rituals to stave off death. Nothing and no one will stop her from reaching her goal of eternal life . . . death is not an option.

What I think of it

I must say that the fantastic and even horror side is very present in the book. Yes, there is an investigation very well conducted but the supernatural elements take over. As such, I'm not sure if the category booksellers give this book (thriller) is the best. In fact, a new category should be created " thriller horror " or " horrific thriller "... in which books from this new generation of writers influenced by Stephen King as Sir Cedric or Maxime Chattam could be put into. In any case, this novel confirms the quality of writing of Sir Cedric, particularly to convey the horror.

About the book, I meet again with Vauvert with pleasure. The giant cop with a fine intelligence has grown since L'enfant des cimetières. If in the first book, he tried to do his job despite the aspects he did not understand and refused to believe in, in this second book, he's much more comfortable with supernatural elements. He accepts those elements as part of life and soon learned to write a police-report-that-can-be-read-by-chiefs. This time he teams up with Eva, a profiler cop from Paris, albino and quite broken because of a violent and muddled past that we discover as the story unfold. Eva is exceptionally competent, knows it and doesn't hesitate to follow her ideas to the great displeasure of Vauvert. If I struggled to appreciate her at the outset - because she seemed too cold and distant - as I discovered her story and, therefore, learned the reasons for her behavior it helped me to like her.

The story gets off like a bat out of hell as a young girl is kidnapped and finds herself locked in a house where the bloodstains are too numerous not to create a sense of immediate panic. Vauvert and Eva save her in extremis and everything seems to end well. Except that a year later, all start over again. Being struck by the story from the beginning created a tension that doesn't falter. Crime scenes are particularly gruesome - very well written in a fairly understated style - and strike a cord with demonic elements (hell and demons represent some kind of deap-rooted fear for most poeple).

If we know fast enough the motive behing the murders, there is a race against the clock to know WHO is the instigator and then WHERE is this famous person because he/she must be stopped as soon as possible to avoid more dead people. Throughout the book, there is a tension and a nervousness, well served by a realistic judicial proceedings. As in L'enfant des cimetières, I like to see Vauvert's efforts to make some situations credibles when they haven't one ounce of reality. In this novel, the police attempt to integrate these supernatural elements in their investigation by affixing a certain logic but when it's not possible, Vauvert doesn't hesitate to think outside the box, even if he finishes to be pursued by justice.

In a nutshell

A good novel one reads quickly, nervous and horrible. A winning trio altogether. I give it 4/5.

Good to know: Sire Cedric was awarded the 2012 Cognac Polar Prize for this book and the Cine+ Frisson 2011 Prize.

My thought on closing the book: brrr! it sends shivers down one spine!

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