Book review #6: The Frozen Dead by Bernard Minier (2011)

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Published in 2011, Bernard Minier’s first novel was hailed in the media. His thriller was translated into a dozen of languages and it received the Prize for the best french novel at the Thriller Festival of Cognac. Not bad for a first book ! A mysterious investigation with multiple cross-stories at the heart of the mountains of the Pyrénées, “The Frozen Dead” (or “Glacé”, in French) is a perfect read for the winter. A ghost village, an asylum, murders…

I am sharing with you the story through the eyes of two of the characters. Will those few fictive excerpts arise your curiosity ?

Captain Martin Servaz’s diary

(…) To be forced to leave my investigation on the murder of that homeless to take care of a stupid horse beheaded at the top of a mountain just because it was Eric Lombard’s, a rich businessman… I kid you not, the police is not what it used to be ! During such a harsh winter, who would want to do that to a poor horse ? And who would be strong enough to anyway ? It weighs like a ton. I think this case will be solved pretty quickly, it must be one of the patients of the asylum Wargnier. I don’t know how he was able to escape, but it is clearly not someone sane that did this horror.

(…)

My colleague Irène Ziegler is very strange. But not as strange as what is going on in this ghost town. The asylum’s director assures me their security is at their maximal level : nobody is missing, and nobody is allowed to go out

(…)

The snow is thickening here, and people seem to leave the village every day. I remember when I was told that the air in the mountains is supposed to make you feel calmer. Here, I’m suffocating…

(…)

First, a beheaded horse. A completely closed asylum. Then not one, but two murders. Hanged on a bridge, the other on a telecabine. Finally, I think we have officially stepped beyond “strange” when we found the DNA of one of Wargnier’s patients, someone who cannot go out, on the crime scenes. Good lord, what is going on here.

I need to meet him. (…)

Diane Berg’s diary

(…) I knew I could find a job as a psychologist ! Not that hard. I can’t wait to discover this new little french village. I guess it will be rather empty since it’s winter, but I should not be too disoriented by the weather as a Swiss woman !

(…)

I want to change what I said. Nothing is like Switzerland here. The snow is colder. The wind sharper. The cold harsher. Everything seems more hostile, even people. Even my colleagues. Especially them in fact. I’m so oppressed, what is happening to me ?

(…)

The Wargnier institute is… I don’t know how to describe it. Something is wrong here. I think I’m afraid. Or is it madness ? I don’t know what to think anymore… (…)

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