PLOT: 4.5/5

This French novel has been translated into 26 languages worldwide and has been hailed as the crime fiction book of the month by The Sunday Times and true to the fame that it has so far accumulated, “After The Crash” is indeed a thrilling and adventurous read.

It is the year 1980 and a plane carrying one hundred and sixty-nine passengers crashes on Mount Terri, a rather deserted mountain between the French and Swiss border.

Since after the crash, the plane immediately catches fire, there are no survivors except for a small child – a baby girl hardly three months old.

But there lies the catch, for there were two baby girls on the plane Emilie Vitral and Lyse-Rose De Carville and both their families have come forward to claim their heir.

So, who is this baby? The investigations will continue for another 18 years and no will know the girl’s true identity.

The private investigator who was hired to carry out the investigations is at the end of his 18 years contract and still has no clue about it.

Disappointed and tired, he tries to take away his life and be done with the torture which has haunted him for the last 18 years.

But just before he was about to pull the trigger, he discovers something; out there in front of him is the 18-year-old newspaper copy of Est Republican which first published the news of the crash and what he sees in it has rendered all the previously done work useless.

He finally has a clue, a hope. But before he can reveal this to anybody he is murdered.

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Everything about “After The Crash” screams marvellous.

The plot, the characters, the writing style, the climax, the adventure, the thrill, the mystery which surrounds the baby girl – it is all pure genius.

The plot is well-knit and together with all the subplots makes for an entertaining read. The narrations are in third voice and sometimes in the form of a notebook which the private investigator left behind.

The story is being told from many people’s perspectives and thus there are quite a number of important characters all of which entertain the reader to no end.

I best liked the character of Malvina De Carville, Mathilde De Carville, Marc and Lylie. All four characters were nicely developed and had a depth about them, even if a little negative.

For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to like the character portrayal of the private investigator much. There was something missing in him I believe. His motives were not very clear and his personal life was hastily showcased giving the reader very less time to know him as a person.

I liked the climax though just a few pages before the grand revelation I had a faint notion of what might be in store for the reader. Nevertheless, it was really fun reading it.

I also particularly liked the fact that there were not any gruesome murders or gory crime scene portrayals as has become the norm with most crime fictions nowadays.

That proves the point that good crime fiction may not necessarily be a gory one.

Overall, the book was an absolute un-put-down-able read and I simply couldn’t wait to get until the end, however, I would have appreciated the author’s skill more if the 386 long pages would have been condensed to less than 300 pages.

Also, I had got the Indian paperback version. I didn’t find the quality of the paper good and the font size appealing and often I had to switch to another book for my night reading sessions.

But that being said, “After The Crash” was an exceptional read and I rate it four out of five stars and recommend it to all crime fiction lovers.