Anyone who has been reading my blog over the past year will know that I am just a little bit obsessed with Michel Bussi’s Black Water Lilies. Whenever I am asked my favourite book that I have read in the last year, or if they ask for a book recommendation, then it will be Black Water Lilies. Bussi is a highly acclaimed French crime writer, this year three of his novels have been translated into English and Don’t Let Go is the final book to be translated (let’s hope more translations to English will be arriving soon).
Set on Reunion Island, a French territory, the novel tells the story of Liane and Martial Bellion who, along with their daughter, are holidaying at one of the islands hotels. Liane goes up to her hotel room and when she is away longer than expected, Martial goes in search of her, only to find the room deserted. However, when it becomes apparent that no one saw Liane leave the room, Martial soon becomes the main suspect in the investigation and Liane Bellion is presume dead.
Written in time lapses that pass between various characters related to the investigation, this is a rich account of life on a very unique, small island. It creates a sense of mixed identity, an island which shares the police and government of France yet has its own identity altogether. In Martial Bellion we find a mysterious character, at times the wronged husband who has lost his wife and a loving father, at times as suspicious as the police believe him to be. Bussi is a master in creating interesting, unusual and often unlikeable characters. Slowly the pieces fit together and the ending doesn’t become clear until the final few chapters.
For me this is a very strong novel in which you can tell Bussi has used his usual dark style. However, some if it was less believable and therefore I didn’t find it as enjoyable as Black Water Lilies. It is still a fantastic read though and I hope to read more of Michel Bussi’s novels soon!