When the topic of “creepy” was recently brought up, I immediately thought of a book I stumbled upon a couple of years ago at the legendary City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco.
Yes, revenge can be so sweet. Now mix it with obsession and a touch of madness, and it turns utterly twisted and bizarre. Such is the case with the intense and fascinating novel, Mygale, written by the late French crime novelist Thierry Jonquet.
Richard Lafargue, a successful, well-respected plastic surgeon carries a dark secret. He locks Eve, the stunning woman he lives with, in her bedroom. If that isn’t enough, he forces here to turn tricks in a Paris apartment once a month while he watches. As you can assume, she despises him as much as he does her. Acquaintances would never figure out their sordid life as they both seem so content at the lavish parties they attend with the Paris elite.
In the underbelly of society we meet 21 year old Alex Barny. Though he has never been in prison or even in front of a court, he made a living by thumping people for his ’employers’. Strong and impulsive, he figured that he could make more money by committing his own crimes. But now he’s on the run. While robbing a bank he killed a cop and in the process caught a bullet in his thigh. He keeps scolding himself, not for the crime, but for his stupidity. If his longtime friend, Vincent, was around, he would have thought things through and planned the perfect bank robbery. However Vincent was nowhere to be found.
The lives of Alex, Richard an Eve intertwine but not in the way that you would expect. Jonquet takes the reader back in forth between the three and their stories and you shudder as you begin to figure it all out. Though the ending makes perfect sense, it is hardly what you expect.
Mygale takes the psychological thriller to an entirely new level. This novel is so unique, seedy and gritty, that you won’t be able to put it down. It will also linger in your head long after you’re done with it. Surprisingly, at only 120 pages the narrative is concise but with elaborate detail while the characters are completely fleshed out.
This translated version of Mygale was part of the City Lights Noir collection and my review was originally published on UnderratedReads in March 2012. I have desperately tried to find more translated crime novels by Jonquet, but to date have had no luck . Also I have yet to find a story as disturbing but at the same as mesmerizing and satisfying as this one.
Dear Reader, can you recommend any “creepy” underrated reads?