Book Review: Brigade Criminelle Trilogy

A review of the French Crime Thriller Trilogy

Kultar Singh Ruprai
4 min readAug 14, 2018

Written by French author Pierre Lemaire this crime-thriller trilogy follows Commandant Camille Verhoeven, the most elite and veteran detective of the French Police as he races against time to solve some of the most bizarre and brutal murders in the heart of France. (think Saw + Robert Landgon + Columbo).

The books are quite dark on a whole, as you would expect when dealing with serial killers and crime thrillers, but the way the author has written the novels it’s still quite refreshing and comes as a nice, sometimes jaw dropping, surprise.

Book Two: Alex

Book Two: Alex (alternative cover)

I was introduced to this book by Claire Lomax, completely unaware of this books status and awards, and was hooked instantly.

The basis of this book (without giving too much away) is based around a kidnapping of an unknown young woman who Verhoeven must to race to find.

The ‘why’ of the crime slowly begins to come to the forefront as you progress through the book, but not without plenty of plot shifts and twists. The way the novel has been written is very fast paced yet very descriptive, you can imagine yourself being there in the middle of Paris or at the crime scene.

The most gruesome and uncomprising of the three, in terms of violence and raw, visual tales.

A rollercoaster read that’s very intelligent and truly gripping from start to finish. One of the best crime thrillers I have read in a long time.

Get it online here.

Rating: 4 / 5

Book One: Irene

Book One: Irene (alternative cover)

Covered in a previous book review:
Not to dwell too much on the fact “Alex” was the second book and “Irene” was the first in the trilogy (most readers read it in this order as this is the way they were released-due to UK translation/publication issues I believe), this story is still very well written but a little slower than I expected, especially when comparing it with “Alex”, perhaps making it feel a bit long.

However, this is most likely the most personal of all three novels, where the basis of this book revolves around Verhoeven chasing a serial killer who is re-enacting murder scenes from classic crime fiction.

The novel still has the signature Lemaire style; humorous at times yet chillingly dark and gory which keeps you hooked when the plot intensifies.

On the whole, this is still a great novel, but a little more straightforward (makes sense if read first) but you could almost guess where it was going. Still not for the faint but a very good first book of three which sets up you nicely for the next chapter if read in the right order, otherwise if you’re like me and read this second, you’ll probably find it a bit more hard work but still enjoyable.

Get it online here

Rating: 3 / 5

Book Three: Camille

Book Three: Camille (alternative cover)

The final installment to the trilogy. Again, very well written and fast paced, which overall is a nice conclusion to the story.

The basis of this book is a series of apparent events, one of which being a robbery that leaves Verhoeven’s new lover fighting for her life when things go south.

What makes this novel a really great read was the way the viewpoint switches between the main characters, this is a different format to the last two, and keeps you gripped and intrigued when things get a little slow in the narrative.

With things being close to home Verhoeven must race aganist time (even break rules) to out-think the killer, putting his life, friendships, reputation and career all in jeopardy. There are moments to this that felt a little ‘Luther’, which is great, but the down side is that a lot of the supporting characters that have been present throughout the trilogy get less emphasis.

Although this one was reviewed as the weakest of the three, I found this quite thrilling and intense, especially since the whole tale spans over 3 long days; meaning a lot happens in a small space of time. Verhoeven must work twice as hard to ensure events don’t repeat themselves, and because of this it’s a much narrower focus that, for me, felt really fast paced with all the usual plot twists.

Although this is no way near as gory as the last two, it serves as a satisfying finale to the trilogy.

Get it online here.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

That’s it!
What did you think? Let me know your thoughts or if you have any recommendations.