Syndrome E: A Thriller

Syndrome E: A Thriller

4.5 4
by Franck Thilliez, Mark Polizzotti
     
 

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What You Don’t See Could Kill You
 
In this international bestseller, which is soon to be a major motion picture penned by the screenwriter of Black Swan, the classic procedural meets cutting-edge science
 
Lucie Henebelle, single mother and beleaguered detective, has just about enough on her plate when she receives a

Overview

What You Don’t See Could Kill You
 
In this international bestseller, which is soon to be a major motion picture penned by the screenwriter of Black Swan, the classic procedural meets cutting-edge science
 
Lucie Henebelle, single mother and beleaguered detective, has just about enough on her plate when she receives a panicked phone call from an ex-lover who has developed a rare disorder after watching an obscure film from the 1950s. With help from the brooding Inspector Franck Sharko, who is exploring the movie’s connection to five unearthed corpses at a construction site, Lucie begins to strip away the layers of what may be the most disturbing film ever made. With more lives on the line, Sharko and Lucie struggle to solve this terrifying mystery before it’s too late. In a high-stakes, adrenaline-fueled hunt that jumps from France to Canada, Egypt to Rwanda, and beyond, this astonishing page-turner, with cinematic echoes from The Manchurian Candidate and the Bourne series, will keep you guessing until the very end.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Spare evocative prose propels French author Thilliez’s stellar U.S. debut. When French film buff Ludovic Sénéchal goes blind after viewing an old short he picked up at an estate sale in Lille, Belgium, he calls ex-girlfriend Lucie Henebelle, a police lieutenant in Lille. Lucie, who’s preoccupied with the illness of one of her daughters, views the mysterious film without losing her vision, though she’s shaken by its violent, disturbing images. Meanwhile, Chief Insp. Franck Sharko of the Paris Violent Crimes unit, who lost his wife and daughter five years earlier “in horrible circumstances,” must sort out how five bodies, each missing the top of its skull, ended up buried in a riverbank in a small town near Le Havre. Once Lucie and Sharko discover a link between their two investigations, they embark on a worldwide voyage toward the chilling truth. This is a crackerjack story that most readers will devour in one sitting. Agent: Aurélie Laure, international rights director, Univers Poche. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Syndrome E:
 
“Compulsively readable . . . An eerie psychological mystery with a truly stunning resolution.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“A crackerjack story that most readers will devour in one sitting . . . Spare evocative prose propels French author Thilliez’s stellar U.S. debut.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“Blending science and neurology into the intrigue of his excellent thriller, Thilliez takes us into the maze of the human brain, with all the evils it can unleash.”
Elle (Paris)
 
“With a fascinating blend of noir procedural, espionage flavor, and an eerie set up that makes the video from The Ring seem harmless, it is no surprise that Syndrome E has already been an international sensation. Beneath its dazzling, byzantine plot are menacing questions of what lurks at the intersection between the new and chilling capabilities of neuroscience and the ancient but more-chilling capabilities of human evil.”
—Michael Koryta, New York Times–bestselling author of The Prophet and Tonight I Said Goodbye
 
“This terrific French thriller . . . boasts distinctive characters you want to spend time with, a lively plot, evocative settings, fun film references and, icing on the cake, an enjoyable offbeat romance. Having achieved bestseller status in Europe, Thilliez is poised to do the same in the U.S.”
Kirkus Reviews
 
“Detective Lucie Henebelle is an overwhelmed single mother who doesn’t need more trouble. Then she gets the call from a friend who has gone blind after watching an obscure film embedded with heinous images. It’s her colleague, a profiler for the Paris police department, who makes the connection between the movie and the five men murdered at a construction site. Twisty neuroscience! Who can resist?”
New York Daily News

“A tour de force . . . A captivating plot that keeps the reader in his seat until the final moments.”
Le Monde Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101601174
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/16/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
285,448
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

“Careful on that. That’s where my father fell and fractured his skull. I mean, really, climbing up there at eighty-two . . .”

Ludovic paused an instant, then rushed forward. He thought of the old man, so passionate about his films that he’d died for them. He climbed as high as he could and continued shopping. Behind The Kremlin Letter, on a hidden shelf, he discovered a black canister with no label. Balancing on the ladder, Ludovic picked it up. Inside was what looked like a short, since the film took up only part of the reel. Ten or twenty minutes’ projection time, tops. Probably a lost film, a unique specimen that the owner had never managed to identify. Ludovic grabbed it up, climbed down, and added it to the stack of nine cult films he’d already chosen. Anonymous reels like this always added spice to the screenings.

He turned around, playing it cool, but his pulse was pounding.

“I’m afraid most of your movies aren’t worth a whole lot. Pretty standard stuff. And besides, can you smell that odor?”

“What odor?”

“Vinegar. The films have been affected by vinegar syndrome. They’ll be worthless before long.”

The young man leaned forward and sniffed.

“You sure about that?”

“Absolutely. I’m willing to take these ten off your hands. Shall we say thirty-five euros apiece?”

“Fifty.”

“Forty.”

“All right . . .”

Ludovic wrote out a check for four hundred euros. As he was pulling away from the curb, he noticed a car with French plates looking for a parking spot.

No doubt another collector—already.

Ludovic emerged from his home projection booth and sat down, alone with a can of beer, in one of the twelve fifties-style leatherette seats that he’d scavenged when they closed the Rex: his own private movie theater. He’d created an authentic auditorium for himself in the basement of his house, which he called his “mini-cinema.” Fold-up seats, stage, pearlescent screen, Heurtier Tri-Film projector: he had it all. At the age of forty-two, the only thing he was missing was a partner, someone to squeeze close while watching Gone with the Wind in the original English. But for the moment, those lousy dating sites had yielded only one-night stands or washouts.

It was nearly three in the morning. Saturated with images of war and espionage, he decided to round out his marathon screening with the unidentified, and incredibly well-preserved, short feature. It must have been a copy. These unlabeled films sometimes turned out to be veritable treasures or, if the gods were really smiling, lost works by famous filmmakers like Méliès, Welles, or Chaplin. The collector in him loved to fantasize about such things. When Ludovic unspooled the leader to wind the film into the projector, he saw that the strip was marked 50 frames per second. That was unusual: normally it was twenty-four per second, more than sufficient to give the illusion of movement. Still, he adjusted the shutter speed to the recommended setting. No point watching it in slow motion.

Within seconds, the whiteness of the screen yielded to a dark, clouded image, with no title or credits. A white circle appeared in the upper right corner. Ludovic wondered at first if it was a flaw in the print, as oft en happened with those old reels. Thee film began.

Ludovic fell heavily as he ran upstairs.

He couldn’t see a thing, not even with the lights on.

He was completely blind.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for Syndrome E:
 
“Compulsively readable . . . An eerie psychological mystery with a truly stunning resolution.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“A crackerjack story that most readers will devour in one sitting . . . Spare evocative prose propels French author Thilliez’s stellar U.S. debut.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“Blending science and neurology into the intrigue of his excellent thriller, Thilliez takes us into the maze of the human brain, with all the evils it can unleash.”
Elle (Paris)
 
“With a fascinating blend of noir procedural, espionage flavor, and an eerie set up that makes the video from The Ring seem harmless, it is no surprise that Syndrome E has already been an international sensation. Beneath its dazzling, byzantine plot are menacing questions of what lurks at the intersection between the new and chilling capabilities of neuroscience and the ancient but more-chilling capabilities of human evil.”
—Michael Koryta,New York Times–bestselling author of The Prophet and Tonight I Said Goodbye
 
“This terrific French thriller . . . boasts distinctive characters you want to spend time with, a lively plot, evocative settings, fun film references and, icing on the cake, an enjoyable offbeat romance. Having achieved bestseller status in Europe, Thilliez is poised to do the same in the U.S.”
Kirkus Reviews
 
“Detective Lucie Henebelle is an overwhelmed single mother who doesn’t need more trouble. Then she gets the call from a friend who has gone blind after watching an obscure film embedded with heinous images. It’s her colleague, a profiler for the Paris police department, who makes the connection between the movie and the five men murdered at a construction site. Twisty neuroscience! Who can resist?”
New York Daily News

“A tour de force . . . A captivating plot that keeps the reader in his seat until the final moments.”
Le Monde Magazine

Meet the Author

Franck Thilliez  is the author of several bestselling novels in his native France. This is his first novel to be translated into English in the United States. He lives in Paris.

Mark Polizzotti is the translator of more than thirty books from the French. His articles and reviews have appeared in The Wall Street Journal  and The Nation. He lives in New York City.

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Syndrome E: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
humaneisfact More than 1 year ago
excellent so far..had to stop to write this...But a conversation between the doctor and the profiler was the same as the woman with the film analyst. at least one sentence was anyways. The two chapters also ended with the same sentence. Is this a flaw in the writers style or deliberate given the nature of the mystery? My guess is it is a flaw but its not enough to make me not want to read this ..im hooked..probably some subliminal message in it..ha.
GartAarfunkle More than 1 year ago
A WONDERFUL read! I ended up devouring this in one day. I so hope the rest in this series is translated into english. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago