We loved when we come across a book by an author when haven’t met. Yet. Equal parts courtroom drama and psychological thriller, Article 353 (Other Press, $15.99), by internationally bestselling author Tanguy Viel, employs subtle, enthralling prose to raise questions about the pursuit of “justice” within the confines of the law.
We aren’t the only who were caught up with the book: Publishers Weekly raves about the book in a recent review calling it a “beguiling noir” and an “elegant effort” sure to win new fans in the U.S.
With echoes of Herman Koch’s The Dinner and Scott Turow’s Limitations, Article 353 is a noir novel retracing the steps that led to a murder off the coast of Brittany. A bestseller in France, winning the Grand Prix RTL-Lire and Prix François Mauriac, the book has sold in 10 territories to date, including Germany, Italy, Spain, and China.
In a depressed town on France’s northern coast, a man named Martial Kermeur has been arrested for the murder of real estate developer Antoine Lazenec after throwing him overboard. Kermeur has long led an upstanding life, raising his son as a single father and humbly working as a groundskeeper after he’s laid off from the shipyard. Running counter to his signature ethically driven and measured demeanor, Kermeur finds himself swept up in the glittering promises of Lazenec, who entices Kermeur into investing the entirety of his savings. Called before a judge, Kermeur goes back to the beginning to explain what brought him to this desperate point: his divorce, his son’s acting out, layoffs at his job, and, above all, Lazenec’s dazzling project for a seaside resort.
Kremeur’s story, told in retrospect, takes on an eerie prophetic tenor, acting as a parable shedding light on a timeless undercurrent of societal ills that still resound in today’s climate of financial and judicial turmoil. Here, Viel, a born storyteller, examines not only the psychology of a crime, but also the larger social maladies that may offer its justification.
We tell no more except buy it and read it. It hits shelves March 12.