The front seat passenger by Pascal Garnier

the front seat passenger

The front seat passenger by Pascal Garnier 

French noir fiction 

Original title – La place du mort 

Translator Jane Aitken 

Source – review copy 

Pascal Garnier was a french writer ,he died in 2010 .I have reviewed  the a26 and Panda theory on the blog I have also read the other two book Gallic books have issued How’s the pain and Moon in the dead eye .So I come this his fifth book keen to see what it was about as I had enjoyed all his other books .This book was reissued just after his death and was originally written in 1997 and was his second novel so is actually the earliest of the novels that Gallic books have translated by him .

From the moment she had left them when Fabien was five ,she was always referred to as Charlotte ,never “Maman 2 .Fabien had never heard his father say  bad word about her ,nor a good word ,he simply didn’t mention her .Like Dreyfus ,he had exiled her to a place in his memory as distant as devil’s island

Fabien had loss early on in his life .  

The front seat passenger follows the usual Garnier trait and that is to take one point and expand it out in the  A26 he took a couple protesting a road being built ,in moon in the dead eye it is a gated community versus gypsies .so The front seat passenger is the story of Fabien his wife is the passenger of the title that died in a car crash with another man ,in the man’s car .It turns out the man was married and the two of the were having an affair and Fabien didn’t know about it.But there marriage wasn’t great but  he didn’t know about the affair  ,Fabien has experience loss like this before when his mother disappeared but did this first loss leave a hole in this man ?He learns that the wife of the other man is called Martine .He decides to find her and have a look  at her and then he starts to stalker her .Now Fabien is lucky he has a great friend  Madeleine whom is trying to help her good friend stay out of real trouble .Well to see how this pans out I would suggest buying the book to find out what happens to Fabian .

Fabien was astonished at how fast he was getting over his loss .When he forced himself to think about Sylvie ,like an invalid testing the progress of their convalescence, he felt as if he were looking back on someone else’s memories .Perhaps that was what as meant by ” turning the page ” the blank whiteness of the new page gave him vertigo .So he began to darken the page by writing ” Martine  Arnoult , 45 Rue Charlot , Paris 3rd 

Has he got over her or is his grief taking a darker turn ?

Well as ever Pascal Garnier is shining a light in the darker place of the human soul loss ,grief ,betrayal .Fabian is shocked when he finds out about Sylvie his wifes accident and even more so when he finds she had a lover .The way he deals with it in becoming a stalker and trying to get some revenge this  isn’t the usual way people would deal with this ,but this is the beauty of Garnier and his books the twists they take ,this isn’t the first of the last twist this book takes .The book is written in short chapter and is only 140 pages long so is one of those books that can be quite easily read in an evening . If you like your stories dark with a couple of twists this is the book for you .

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. heather
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 12:02:16

    thanks for your comments on this book. it does sound like a good read.


  2. Col
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 13:16:58

    Your education of my reading habits continues!!!!!!! This is another I’d not heard of before but I like the sound of it – the clincher was the reference to dark places – I like that in a novel. Will add this to my list to look out for.


  3. heavenali
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 13:20:41

    This sounds like a really interesting read, you introduce me to many authors I have never heard of before 🙂


  4. Guy Savage
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 01:03:15

    This one is on my list but isn’t available in N.America yet. It’s a great scenario.


  5. jacquiwine
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 08:34:36

    Sounds great, Stu. I’ve read a couple by Garnier: The A26 and How’s the Pain, both very good. I loved the mix of noir and black humour in The A26, so I’ll look out for this one.


  6. Scott W.
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 01:22:40

    Stu- Garnier keeps getting mentioned by the French folks in my world, so I’ll look this one up.


  7. davidsimmons6
    Mar 09, 2014 @ 13:17:04

    I just finished this book, the first Garnier in my library, with pleasure. It reads much like a Simenon “roman dur” except it’s not that dreary and is even humorous in spots. More of a thriller or a horror story than a mystery to my eye, it moves right along with a clever growing tension. Reminds me of Stephen King’s Misery, which came out ten years earlier.


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February 2014


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