After The Crash by Michel Bussi

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After The Crash by Michel Bussi

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A search for identity following a fatal plane crash leads to 18 years of drama for two French families. An excellent, absorbing, intriguing read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: March 2015
Publisher: W&N
ISBN: 978-0297871422

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It’s December 1980, almost Christmas time. But, for many families this won’t be a special festive time. A plane, carrying 169 passengers en route from Istanbul to Paris crashes in the mountains during a terrible storm. There’s no hope of survivors and yet, miraculously, there is one passenger who lives. A 3 month old baby girl is found close by the wreckage, apparently unharmed. Her parents have perished in the crash but she is a miracle, a ray of hope for her family… whoever they may be. For there were 2 young babies on board the flight, and although a mother would surely know her own child, it’s harder when it’s grandparents who need to identify and lay claim to a child they have never met before. Both families believe the little one is theirs and in the days before DNA testing and when it’s harder to access medical records across borders, it’s left to a judge to decide who should raise her, the wealthy and powerful de Carvilles or the less fortunate but loving Vitrals. In each case, the baby will have a young sibling with whom to grow up, but will she ever feel like she truly belongs?

This is an absolutely brilliant psychological thriller that makes you question everything you uncover about the story. Told largely through the eyes of a private eye hired to investigate the case, there are numerous subplots of murder, mystery and intrigue, not to mention broken hearts and lost souls, to add to the drama. This is the sort of story that couldn’t happen in the same way now, so the setting of the 80s is perfect, and gives a timeline over which Lylie can grow into an adult with questions of her own.

I devoured this book and knew from early on that I wouldn’t be able to put it down until Lylie’s true identity was revealed. The author is skilled at the art of cliff hangers and I've never known so many in one book, but as the secondary stories were immensely interesting, I had to stick with them too rather than skip ahead until a thread was picked back up.

The translation is fantastic, to the extent that you often forget it wasn’t originally written in English. The language is often quite formal, in keeping with the findings of an investigation, but this is broken up by the younger voices of Lylie and Marc. Credule Grand-Duc is a wonderful narrator of other people’s lives, but his own life is also a story worth telling and as aspects emerge it starts to change the way in which you view his words.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It is such an unusual story and it’s brilliantly told, though I would suggest that starting to read it on an aeroplane wasn’t my best move given how the story starts. Other than that, it was everything I expected it to be and more.

I’d like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review.

If you love a story that twists and turns like this one, Under Your Skin by Sabine Durrant also gets the thumbs up.

Booklists.jpg After The Crash by Michel Bussi is in the Top Ten Thrillers of 2015.

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Buy After The Crash by Michel Bussi at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy After The Crash by Michel Bussi at


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