Ju reads the Words, contributor of the reading group 20 Minute Booksrecommends Le Palais des innocents by Franck Schemer, winner of the Unknown Authors Prize in the thriller category, published on July 19, 2021 by Éditions La Rémanence.
His favorite quote:
– Have you heard of Gilles de Rais? – Vaguely. – He rode alongside Joan of Arc. He was sentenced to hang for witchcraft and child rape. He is the origin of the legend of Bluebeard.
Why this book?
- Because this book won, December 15, 2022the Unknown Authors Prize in the “Black Literature” category, which is a guarantee of quality. The Palace of the Innocents impressed the jury with its plot that plunges the reader into childhood fears, the beliefs of our lands and famous tales.
- Because Franck Schemer was inspired by ruins of the castle of Engelbourg, whose demolition was ordered by Louis XIV. The big tower of the dungeon breaks into several parts; one of which is nicknamed “the eye of the Witch”, the scene of strange cults and legends. It only took one step for the author to mix in one of the most famous tales in literature, where childish fears are pushed to the extreme.
- Because few black novels use the theme of children, about their most basic fears and how they can confuse dreams, illusions with reality.
- Because the author leads us into a much more complex plot than it seems, flirting with the fantastic, full of suspense, with twists as unexpected as Machiavellian, tinged with a dark atmosphere, sometimes bordering on suffocating.
- Because despite the exploitation of several tracks, destined to lose the reader, the author sparingly distills the elements which fit together perfectly, delivering over the pages revelations as astonishing as they are Machiavellian.
- Because the psychology of the characters is finely detailed, bringing to this choral novel a rhythm and a density which serve the plot brilliantly, until the outcome which can only stun readers.
The essentials in 2 minutes
The plot. In the small town of Thann, in Alsace, every year on the same date, a child is found dead, murdered by a culprit hardly older than him. Bernard Cornière, in charge of the investigation, must solve this case, because the assassin is always the next victim…
Characters. Bernard Cornière, the policeman, presented as “the fat man” hides behind his bulimia a great guilt. Olivia Walter “the girl with the shaved head” suffers from recurring nightmares which increase over the course of the plot. Thomas Walter “the boy with the bulb head”, a gifted child…
Places. In the small town of Thann, in Alsace.
The time. Current.
The author. Franck Schemer started writing in 2012, starting with suspense stories. The Palace of the Innocents is his first novel. Today he continues to write detective novels, always favoring local themes.
This book was read with great pleasure for its construction and its devilishly well-constructed and well-thought-out plot!
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Franck Schemer, best unknown author in the thriller category
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