Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Showcase - Article 353 by Tanguy Viel translated from the French by William Rodarmor

If you've been visiting the blog lately you'll notice I've been showcasing a lot of books published by this incredible indie house called Other Press. They offer such a diverse selection of both fiction and non-fiction some homegrown but many like today's showcase translated.

ISBN-13:  978-1-59051-934-9
Publisher: Other Press
Release Date: 3-12-2019
Length: 160pp
Translated from the French by William Rodarmor
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/IndieBound
This atmospheric noir novel retraces the steps that led to a murder off the coast of Brittany, probing the relationship between law and justice.
In a depressed town on France’s northern coast, a man named Martial Kermeur has been arrested for the murder of real estate developer Antoine Lazenec after throwing him overboard. Called before a judge, Kermeur goes back to the beginning to explain what brought him to this desperate point: his divorce, his son’s acting out, layoffs at his job, and, above all, Lazenec’s dazzling project for a seaside resort. The temptation to invest all of your severance pay in a beautiful apartment with a view of the sea is great. But of course, this is only a plan in the works—or is it?

In this subtle, enthralling novel, Tanguy Viel examines not only the psychology of a crime, but also the larger social ills that may offer its justification.


I was in a good position to see Antoine Lazenec coming, with those pointy shoes of his. I don’t know why, but I’ve never liked shoes with pointed toes, those Italian shoes that look polished even in the rain. And it’s not as if I was in the habit of starting with people’s feet when I met them, but I was cutting the estate lawn and had my head down watching the mower move across the grass without hearing much of anything around me, so the first thing I saw were his leather shoes on the path, and also because they were so black and shiny against the white gravel. So I looked up and saw a guy, not too tall and almost bald, wearing a black jacket with his shirt collar open like a Parisian. He was looking at me without really smiling, waiting for me to turn the mower off. When I cut the motor there was this sudden silence, and he just said, Is all this for sale?

I could hear him jingling keys in his pocket while he looked at the château, as if he had taken in the whole property at a glance, the five acres facing the sea and the old freestone building, in a single “all this,” and was already appropriating it. I could see his ivory or cream- colored sports car behind him gleaming in the sun, because it was sunny that day, see—we do get sunshine around here sometimes.

Yes, it’s for sale, I said. The château and the five acres of the grounds, it’s all for sale.

There was a silence as the two of us stood in the shade of the building, me wiping the damp grass off the mower blade, him standing in the calm weather—there was hardly any wind that day—with his hands still in his pockets.

I could tell he was expecting something, so I said: Are you here to see the place?

That’s right.


“A powerful novel by an author who has become a master in the use of all the shades of gray.” —TÉLÉRAMA

“[Viel] has a lot of talent…A great book.” —L’OBS

“Captivating and striking, Tanguy Viel’s writing never lets us go.” —LIBÉRATION

About the author:
Tanguy Viel was born in Brest in 1973. He is the author of several novels, including Le Black Note, Cinéma, The Absolute Perfection of Crime (winner of the Prix Fénéon and the Prix littéraire de la vocation), Beyond Suspicion, Paris-Brest, La Disparition de Jim
Sullivan, and, most recently, Article 353 (winner of the Grand prix RTL-Lire and the Prix François Mauriac). He lives near Orléans, France.


  1. I don't even know what it is about that cover, but it makes me want to take a second look at this one!

    1. yes I know what you mean Ali, it's very mysterious and noir :)

  2. Interesting excerpt. Sounds like it might be good.