‘FIRST in a bewitching new series from the Queen of French Noir‘
[ About the Book ]
1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.
1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.
2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.
Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…
[ My Review ]
The Bleeding by Johana Gustawsson (translated by David Warriner) will publish September 15th with Orenda Books and is described as ‘a spell-binding, dazzlingly dark gothic thriller that swings from Belle Époque France to 21st-century Quebec, with an extraordinary mystery at its heart.’
Detective Maxine Grant is grieving following the unexpected and tragic death of her husband. With two children to care for she is under pressure to get up every day but she knows that if she sinks too low she will never return to any semblance of a normal life. Returning to work she is immediately lead investigator on a case involving the brutal murder of a renowned university professor, Philippe Caron.
His wife, Pauline Caron, an old school teacher of Maxine’s, is the lead suspect. Found at the scene in shock, with traces of her husband’s blood on her body she is unwilling to speak of the trauma in her home, leaving Maxine and the investigative team clueless as to motive or intent. As the team search the Caron residence, a gruesome discovery is unearthed leading Maxine down a very dark and treacherous path, one with a history that takes us back to the late 1800s, to Belle Époque Paris.
Lucienne Docquer is unhappy in her marriage. She finds it difficult to fit in with the Parisian elite and the social circles they gravitate toward. Originally from Lac-Clarence in Quebec, her accent is different and sometimes she struggles with the Parisienne dialect, leaving her ofttimes lonely and isolated at social events. She dotes on her two little girls, Jeanne and Rose but one day her world upends when tragedy strikes and their home burns to the ground before the two little girls could be rescued. Traumatised, Lucienne, through a surprising source, becomes entranced with the world of spiritualism, one where communication with the spirits of the dead is a strong belief.
1949 in Quebec Lina is an unhappy teen struggling to fit in with her peers and suffering at the hands of a relentless bully. Her father died fighting during the war so it’s now just her mother and herself in the home. Her mother is constantly stressed and under pressure to make ends meet so her time for Lina is scant. When Lina gets into trouble at school her mother insists that Lina come to her workplace after school every day so she knows her whereabouts. Her mother works in the local asylum and it is here that Lina crosses paths with an elderly woman, an individual who would have a huge influence on Lina’s journey through life.
Weaving a story dating back to the 19th Century can be a challenge but for Johana Gustawsson it seems almost easy. The flow of the narrative expertly heightens to shocking scenes and then levels off again, bringing the reader on an exciting and, all times, bumpy ride. Johana Gustawsson is unafraid to shock her readers, something that anyone who has read her acclaimed Roy & Castells series will agree with I’m sure. Atmospheric to its core, with the supernatural, like treacle, slowly infiltrating every chapter, this gothic and dark thriller is made for the cinema. The different eras are excellently depicted creating incredible, and at times, chilling visuals with some hair-raising and disturbing scenes throughout.
The Bleeding is a complex and layered tale that titillates the senses with its intricately woven plotline and its intriguing cast of characters. A provocative and theatrical read!
[ Bio ]
Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series, including Block 46, Keeper and Blood Song, has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in 28 countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production. The Bleeding – number one bestseller in France and the first in a new series – will be published in 2022. Johana lives on the west coast of Swedan with her Swedish husband and their three sons.
Twitter ~ @JoGustawsson
[ Bio ]
David Warriner translates from French and nurtures a healthy passion for Franco, Nordic and British crime fiction. Growing up in deepest Yorkshire, he developed incurable Francophilia at an early age. Emerging from Oxford with a Modern Languages degree he narrowly escaped the graduate rat race by hopping on a plane to Canada – and never looked back. More than a decade into a high-powered commercial translation career, he listened to his heart and turned his hand to the delicate art of literary translation. David has lived in France and Quebec, and now calls beautiful British Columbia home.
Twitter ~ @givemeawave