Blood Wedding was the first book I read by Lemaitre and I absolutely loved it – I gave it all the stars on Goodreads! So, you can imagine my excitement when I saw he was releasing a new book. Three Days and a Life publishes in hardback on 13th July.
Antoine is twelve years old. His parents are divorced and he lives with his mother in Beauval, a small, backwater town surrounded by forests, where everyone knows everyone’s business, and nothing much ever happens. But in the last days of 1999, a series of events unfolds, culminating in the shocking vanishing without trace of a young child. The adults of the town are at a loss to explain the disappearance, but for Antoine, it all begins with the violent death of his neighbour’s dog. From that one brutal act, his fate and the fate of his neighbour’s six year old son are bound forever.
In the years following Rémi’s disappearance, Antoine wrestles with the role his actions played. As a seemingly inescapable net begins to tighten, breaking free from the suffocating environs of Beauval becomes a gnawing obsession. But how far does he have to run, and how long will it take before his past catches up with him again?
Three Days and a Life is a suspense thriller that follows Antoine before, during and after the disappearance of his neighbour Rémi. Unlike Blood Wedding, the pace is much slower in this one, the plot isn’t complex, the writing style is simple so despite the slow pace, this was still a quick read. It’s what I’d call a ‘silent thriller,’ there are no shocking twists or turns but by avoiding the use of the first-person narrative, Lemaitre slowly builds suspense as Antoine’s story is told to us. Sadly, for me, the suspenseful nature of this book was a bit bland, I had the misfortune of reading a different synopsis to the one provided above and this spoilt the read for me because it detailed everything that happened in the book; so, when nothing other than exactly what I’d read in that synopsis occurred, I was disappointed. Nothing really excited me until page 190 [of 221] when I thought a twist was coming.
The synopsis above, provided by the publisher, is accurate and creates the right level of mystery and suspense for the reader so I imagine you’ll enjoy this one way more than me if/when you read it. Don’t get me wrong, I did like this book, but it wasn’t nowhere near the level of good I was expecting – a 3 stars read, it’s one I’d say don’t rush for the hardback but wait for the paperback [as it’s cheaper].
A large majority of this plot focuses on events in 1999, with only a small focus of the aftermath (2011 and 2015) – I’d have liked to see a bit more of an even split as it made the ending feel slightly rushed. I think my issue was, I didn’t understand why so much of the plot was focused on the beginning when the synopsis I’d read told me what happened so it felt like I was reading an unnecessarily long account of what I already knew. This then impacted my enjoyment as the suspense wasn’t really there for me and nor was the mystery.
I think it’s fair to say, the synopsis I read on Goodreads (which hopefully has been changed now) spoiled this book for me, so I plead with you to read other reviews before dismissing this one. Lemaitre is a very talented author, evidence of that is Blood Wedding and I still plan to read his Camille Verhœven series.