Three Drops of Blood and a Cloud of Cocaine by Quentin Mouron and W Donald Wilson (translator)
|Three Drops of Blood and a Cloud of Cocaine by Quentin Mouron and W Donald Wilson (translator)|
|Reviewer: Megan Kenny|
|Summary: Three Drops of Blood and a Cloud of Cocaine is a searing novel, filled with vivid prose and seamy characters. The story moves at breakneck pace.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 228||Date: June 2017|
|Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Paul McCarthy is a man of simple pleasures; Sheriff in a small town, a good husband father and neighbour, he moves through life buoyed by his faith, in both God and justice. The brutal murder of old Jimmy Henderson rocks this simple man's tenuously ordered life and drags him to the edge of the abyss. McCarthy is tasked with leading a fractured investigation whilst managing his own soul-searching questions about morality and the nature of existence. Into this quagmire steps Franck, a private detective with a shadowy agenda, a raging cocaine habit and a twisted sense of morality. As McCarthy tries to solve this apparently motiveless crime, Franck acts as a perverse Jiminy Cricket, dripping immorality and depravity into his ear with a kiss and a wink.
Throughout this novel, the theme of morality is ubiquitous, from the upstanding moral code which guides Paul McCarthy to the warped moral compass of Franck. Both men are led by their own code of ethics, although these morals are vastly different. The tension between Franck's vice and Paul's virtue builds to a lurid, iniquitous conclusion and sees McCarthy refer to Franck's recitation of a nihilistic text as being Like an organ, but better, much better than in church…, a statement which gave me a pang of heartbreak, its innocence at odds with the hellish scene of corruption and vice. This demonstrates the strength of Mouron's writing and Wilson's excellent translation - although the narrative is dreamy and the story less than typical, the characters are still human enough for readers to feel real emotion about the debasement of McCarthy, a moral beacon throughout the story brought to his knees by violence and sin. The lasting effect of wickedness is hard to shake off and we are left in no doubt that the world can be dark and full of malice.
Three Drops of Blood and a Cloud of Cocaine is, from it's very title, a different spin on the traditional crime story. The fact that Mouron is a French author writing about small town America gives a quirky tone to the story and is a delightful departure from the saturated market of police and crime fiction. His eloquence and lyrical style adds interest and warmth and ensures the story never feels formulaic. The characters are vivid enough to capture your interest but vague enough to allow for the reader to identify with them, even Franck who is a decidedly decadent dandy. The story moves quickly and draws you in and could easily be read in one sitting. Whilst it is clearly a crime story, it is so much more than that; a tale about the price of justice and the tenuous façade of faith in a cruel and senseless world.
If you're a fan of crime fiction which goes further than just blood and guts, you could also try Crush by Frederic Dard and Daniel Seton (translator).
You can read more book reviews or buy Three Drops of Blood and a Cloud of Cocaine by Quentin Mouron and W Donald Wilson (translator) at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Three Drops of Blood and a Cloud of Cocaine by Quentin Mouron and W Donald Wilson (translator) at Amazon.com.
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