The Moment Before Drowning by James Brydon

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Though the descriptive prose is sometimes overcooked, the characters are alive and the mystery is mostly satisfying.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

"Brydon's provocative and unsettling first novel...is a remarkably assured debut by a gifted new writer."
--Publishers Weekly, STARRED reivew

"An exploration of political oppression wrapped in a carefully constructed mystery. In Brydon's auspicious debut...the characters are alive and the mystery is mostly satisfying. An erudite and entertaining addition to the shelf."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Brydon packs in so much emotion, suspense, tension, and heartbreak. This story literally took my breath away...This author is one to be reckoned with and I hope his next literary work will be published soon. Most highly recommended."
--Marjorie's World of Books (blog)

"From the Battle of Algiers, to the austere abutments of the Brittany coast, The Moment Before Drowning is a carefully weighted novel that strips the glamour from what people can do without ever simplifying the reasons why they do it. An engrossing and expansive tale."
--Luke McCallin, author of The Ashes of Berlin

"This book haunted me--the protagonist's moral conflict is so poignant, the writing is luminescent, and the postwar French and Algerian landscapes are immaculately drawn. Take a bit of Albert Camus, mix in some Nobel Prize–winning Patrick Modiano, add a dollop of French noir, and voilà, you have James Brydon's The Moment Before Drowning."
--Denise Hamilton, author of Damage Control

"After spending two years in Algeria with the French military, Jacques le Garrec, a Resistance hero and former detective, returns home in disgrace to a desolate snow-laden seacoast village in Brittany to await his own trial for a horrific incident that occurred during his time in Algeria...What seems a deceptive title becomes a metaphor for le Garrec's journey in The Moment Before Drowning--a gripping, atmospheric, submersive novel that is deeply layered and delicately nuanced. I couldn't put this book down."
--Cara Black, author of Murder in Saint-Germain

December 1959: A furious anticolonial war rages in Algeria. Captain Jacques le Garrec, a former detective and French Resistance hero, returns to France in disgrace. Traumatized after two years of working in the army intelligence services, he's now accused of a brutal crime.

As le Garrec awaits trial in the tiny Breton town where he grew up, he is asked to look into a disturbing and unsolved murder committed the previous winter. A local teenage girl was killed and her bizarrely mutilated body was left displayed on the heathland in a way that no one could understand.

Le Garrec's investigations draw him into the dark past of the town, still haunted by memories of the German occupation. As he tries to reconstruct the events of the murder, the violence of this crime and his recollections of Algeria intertwine, threatening to submerge him.

 

About James Brydon

See more books from this Author
 
Published July 3, 2018 by Akashic Books. 224 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime, War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Kirkus

Above average
on May 01 2018

Though the descriptive prose is sometimes overcooked, the characters are alive and the mystery is mostly satisfying.

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