Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Paris Lawyer - by Sylvie Granotier

Genres: Murder, Mystery, Drama, Suspense, Thriller, Relationships, Family
Formats: Kindle, Nook
Pages: 316
Published date: February, 2013
Publishers: Le French Book
Edition language: English
Literary awards: 
Grand Prix Sang d'encre
Purchase Link: Amazon / Barnes & Noble


“A beautifully written and elegantly structured novel of a woman's attempt to solve the central mystery of her life, along with several other mysteries along the way. It captures the reader from the first page, and never lets go.”
— Thomas H. Cook, winner of the Martin Beck Award, Barry Award for Best Novel, Edgar Award for Best Novel

Winner of the Grand Prix Sang d’Encre crime fiction award in 2011, for the first time in English.

As a child, Catherine Monsigny was the only witness to a heinous crime. Now, she is an ambitious rookie attorney in sophisticated modern-day Paris. On the side, she does pro bono work and hits the jackpot: a major felony case that could boost her career. A black woman is accused of poisoning her rich farmer husband in a peaceful village in central France, where the beautiful, rolling hills hold dark secrets. While preparing the case, Catherine’s own past comes back with a vengeance. This fast- paced story follows Catherine’s determined search for the truth in both her case and her own life. Who can she believe? And can you ever escape from your past? The story twists and turns, combining subtle psychological insight with a detailed sense of place.

"This is a complex tale, skillfully told, that will keep you in suspense to the very end.”
— Patricia MacDonald, Edgar-award nominee

“Full of surprises and twists that will keep you reading late into the night.”

“This is a suspense novel with an absolutely perfect atmosphere. The writing is subtle, racy, controlled. It is written with great art!”

“Everything in this book—the plot, the atmosphere, the characters, and the style—is perfectly mastered from beginning to end.”
— L’Echo

Paris( France)

Dr. Claude Monsigny regarded himself as the model father for his model little daughter, Catherine Monsigny. Catherine did not know her mother, Violet, who was brutally murdered as a young women. The gruesome event took place when Violet took her little baby daughter, Catherine, in stroller for a walk, never to return. He would combine the roles of both parents in raising her and protecting her against anything sinister that might possibly bring more harm to her. He made sure that a personal holocaust of Violet's memory would be executed in ensuring that his baby girl would never again be reminded of that day. Catherine was not allowed to ever talk about her again. She did not even know where her mother was buried. She did not even know about "Devil’s Wash, the place where Violet loved the rocks, the multiple waterfalls, the dark mystery and the crystalline cheerfulness."

As a young adult, twenty-five-year old Catherine Monsigny was on the brink of her first big murder case in the Creuse, France as a lawyer. Gaston Villetreix died and his African wife, Myriam (N’Bissi), was accused of murdering him. The case could mean a first big break for Catharine and she was willing to leave Paris and represent the accused in her home village in The Creuse region of France. However, before leaving Paris, she was defending Cedric Devers in an assault and battery case, in Paris, and she started to get flashbacks about her mother and the day of her murder. It would become more frequent when she arrived in the village, which startled and upset her since her memories were dormant for most of her life.

She was just a baby, way too young, to remember what really happened that day.

Her father never remarried. He never could replace the love he had for his wife. She was the girl he was waiting for his entire life. He instinctively knew that she is the change he has been waiting for, his future raison d’être. He will be the answer to her life’s detour.

The following months would become a trial in more ways than one when she had to deal with two murder cases, her own love interests, as well as address betrayal, deception, secrets, suspicion and strange events. "Catherine remains calm. In any case, she has been reared never to raise her voice. Keep control. Stay calm. Emotional responses should be controlled, lest they overflow, heaving up debris like a tidal wave."

But most of all she had to learn the real meaning of love. Was it a hide-all for everything that can go wrong? Or was there really something like unconditional love. She also, for the first time in her life, had to address the suppressed emotions and memories behind her mother's death which kept her jailed behind high emotional walls. "Brutal, unexpected death, when it cuts off one life, interrupts others, which are cleanly amputated, left without any follow-up, no conclusion , eternally connected to nothing."

Myriam "suggested that love is a luxury enjoyed by those who do not have survival issues".

But despite everything she had to face "she(Catharine) wanted to believe that love had other faces and that when her turn arrived, she would be loved better."

"You build your house brick by brick, and even before putting on the roof, a catastrophe transforms it into a pile of stones, without you ever knowing who destroyed your universe one day or why."

While reading this murder mystery, and psychological thriller, par excellence the thought came up that this story was the work of a professional, without knowing anything about the author. All strings were nicely tied and secured. The ending was unique. In fact, it was one of the most refreshing and original I have read in a very long time.

Thriller, suspense, emotional drainer, fast-moving, nail-biting. And finally you will understand what love really means.

Five stars for keeping me glued and awake and beyond thrilled! You will walk away happy, that's guaranteed! Not only because of how the story played out, how the elements were securely blended together, but also because it was so brilliantly written.

Any adult, both genders, can read it.

I will undoubtedly read this author again.


AUTHOR, screenwriter and actress Sylvie Granotier loves to weave plots that send shivers up your spine. She was born in Algeria and grew up in Paris and Morocco. She studied literature and theater in Paris, then set off traveling— the United States, Brazil, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, ending with a tour of Europe. She wound up in Paris again, an actress, with a job and some recognition. But she is a writer at heart, and started her publishing career translating Grace Paley’s short story collection Enormous Changes at the Last Minute into French. Fourteen novels and many short stories later, Sylvie Granotier is a major crime fiction author in France. She has met with continued success, and is translated into German, Italian, Russian and Greek. The Paris Lawyer is her first novel to be translated into English. This legal procedural that doubles as a psychological thriller is full of plot twists that bring us into the heart of French countryside, La Creuse, a place full of nineteenth-century landscapes and dark secrets. Sylvie splits her time between Paris and the Creuse.

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