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(Camille Verhœven #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  7,851 ratings  ·  1,158 reviews
For Commandant Verhœven life is beautiful: he is happily married, expecting his first child with the lovely Irène.

But his blissful existence is punctured by a murder of unprecedented savagery. Worse still, the press seem to have it in for him – his every move is headline news. When he discovers that the killer has killed before – that each murder is a homage to a classic c
Paperback, 452 pages
Published August 7th 2014 by MacLehose Press (first published June 7th 2006)
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Sam Yes, it's the first in the series, so Fantastic Fiction is wrong. But in English, this book was actually the second book to be translated. I don't rec…moreYes, it's the first in the series, so Fantastic Fiction is wrong. But in English, this book was actually the second book to be translated. I don't recommend reading them out of order if you can help it. (less)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Jim Fonseca
I don’t usually do this because I seldom read books like this, but I’ll start with a content warning. If you are bothered by descriptions of the torture, dismemberment and mutilation of women, this book is not for you. I don’t have any of that in my review. But since the theme of this book is that a crazy killer is killing women by imitating killings in books, such as American Psycho by Bret Ellis, you get descriptions of each murder twice - in the original book and then how the killer imitated ...more
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe this is the first book I've ever read that was written by a French author. I had no trouble with understanding the French justice system, place and character names, and other terms. As advised by Goodread friends, I've read this as the first in the trilogy, although it was not translated into English first.

This book has a truly unique set up, but I'm not going to tell you what it is. Suffice it to say, I'm still thinking about it! The main protagonist is diminutive in stature, but he h
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After the phenomenal success of Pierre Lemaitre’s Alex on its release last year, it was with some relish that I embarked on Irene. I think it’s probably a fairly moot point that I am adding my still, small voice to the general acclaim that Irene has garnered since its release but here are my thoughts.

Quite simply this book is terrific, in the first instance with the superb characterisation of the central detective protagonist, Commandant Camille Verhoeven, the diminutive but dogged police office
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-shortlist, crime
Jaysus where to start without tipping yer hat........ brutal for sure at times! humourous too in it’s own caustic/sarcastic way, fluffy..... Nope this isn’t for yous, no kitties here unless there ½ strangled, castrated with a blunt razor, slung in a sack & drowned in boiling salt water...... I think you get the picture..... An example..... The autopsy report scene which I mentioned in an update is delivered in a cold direct manner & leaves nothing out with one or two lines which made me sit up w ...more
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know where to begin with a review. This is a fabulous book, one of the best for me this year. I'm not going to write a long review because I think each reader needs to follow the story as it's written and wait for the ending. Not for the faint of heart just a truly unique novel.

P.S. The second book in the trilogy is Alex and is rated as the best one. I don't know how that is possible. I'm gonna need more stars.
Terri Wino
This is the first book in a trilogy. For some ridiculous reason, the second book, Alex, was the first to be translated to English and published in the USA. When I began reading Alex a couple years ago I realized at that point that it was the second book. Nevertheless, I didn't feel it took anything away from the story.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Irene. It was an engrossing crime novel/mystery and the last 40 pages of the book are the definition of pulse-pounding. But having read
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't really know where to start with this one. Just to say that Irene had been recommended to me from different directions and I became so intrigued by the positivity of it all that I just HAD to read it. And I'm so glad I did. I LOVED it.

Irene is the first in a trilogy of books but for some reason the second, Alex, was translated first. Luckily I was warned of this many times and I'm glad I'm reading them in order!!

It tells the story of Commandant Verhoeven a senior police officer working in
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Napoleonic Inspecteur et sa Belle, Femme Enceinte Irène
"She's got a way of showin'
How I make her feel
And I find the strength to keep on goin'"
Billy Joel, She's Got a Way, 1972.

Irène was written in French by French author Pierre Lemaitre but was translated into English only within the past few years. It's a hyper-intelligent, stylish, noir, (quasi-meta), spellbinding psychological thriller with a quite original, extremely clever (and short) protagonist, Commandant Camille Verhoeven. His w
Liz Barnsley
Excellent. Not as good as Alex perhaps but close. Technically the 1st in the series although I read it 2nd as per publication in the UK. The ending killed me even though I knew it was coming! Very good indeed. As stated on my "Alex" review I am doing a feature on my blog on all 3 books in the trilogy once I have read them all. Camille here I come! ...more
Marina Sofia
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, this is the first book in the trilogy but the second to get translated into English, so I had read the second one (Alex) first. This means that you know the outcome of the first book, which does spoil the suspense a little. Also, I do get a bit weary of the sometimes rather graphic description of atrocities and the serial killer storyline. However, the link with literary crimes is ingenious and by the end of the book you start questioning what is fact, what is fiction. An above-av ...more
Dimitris Passas (TapTheLine)
"Irene" is the first novel in the Camille Verhœven Series and one of the best literary thrillers I've read in the last few years. It should also be mentioned that this novel won the CWA International Dagger (2016) and also the prestigious French literary award Prix Goncourt (2013). Lemaitre proves to be a true master of the genre and I believe that his book displays selective affinities with the darker representatives of the Scandinavian Crime Fiction genre, such as Jo Nesbø, Samuel Bjørk, and L ...more
“It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life . . .”

It was the cover that initially grabbed me when browsing through the mystery section, but it was the need to know who was behind the gruesome killings that kept me turning the pages.

Right off the bat, the author hits us with a gory crime scene. Detailing every heinous thing that was done to the two prostitutes found dead in a deserted condo. It’s unimaginable, or is it? As the detectives try to unravel who is behind this elaborately staged
This is book #1 in the Verhœven series, and is followed by Alex which I had previously read and enjoyed. I don't think the fact that I knew the outcome of this first story was a problem for me (I am a notorious last-page reader), but there were other reasons why I felt frustrated for almost the entire book.

Principally this was to do with the characterisation of the protagonist, Camille Verhœven, a short-statured detective in one of the branches of the French police. Well, I am a short-statured
Rebecca Bradley
Last year I read Alex by Pierre Lemaitre, blogged, or rather raved about it and then listed it as one of my top five reads of 2013.

As it turned out, Alex was the second novel in the Commandant Verhoeven series, but the first to be translated to English from the first language of French. The debut novel Irene, Commandant Verhoeven’s first outing was released in the UK after Alex had received rave reviews. Because I loved Alex so much and I loved the writing style and twists of Lemaitre, I snatche
Pat (not getting friend updates currently)
There is only one word I can use to describe this book, one that I have not yet used in a review, and that word is - diabolical.

Cleverly written and featuring a motley cast of characters headed up by the dogged but brilliant Inspector Camille Verhoeven, it has an odd sort of structure about life imitating art imitating life, where the 'art' is the classic crime novel. So yes, diabolical, devilish and devious well describe the murderer in this rather off-the-wall, noir book. Camille doggedly foll
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
This one's not really for the faint of heart. Pretty graphic descriptions of the serial killer's violent crimes against women. But I liked the cat-and-mouse detective vs. killer nature of the plot, and even though the whodunit was rather predictable, it didn't lessen my enjoyment. Unique premise too (the killer stages his murders to reflect those of specific crime novels). What I didn't like as much was the translation (this is a French book translated to English). The translation resulted in bo ...more
Elaine Tomasso
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came to Irene after the truly amazing Alex, the second book in the trilogy but published first, so I knew some of the outcome already but it didn't detract from my reading experience and I really enjoyed it. We are introduced to Camille Verhoeven, head of a serious crime team, as he starts his investigation into a very brutal double murder which soon morphs into a serial killer hunt as more crimes are linked to the perpetrator.
I don't really know how to describe this novel as on one level it i
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, french
A glorious grisly surprise. My first book in French in a decade or more, and I was sucked in right away. (What a wonderful thing to read foreign language books on the Kindle and to be able to highlight a word and instantly get a definition in French or a translation into English, as I chose).

My French is too rusty for me to comment on the writing qua writing, but the plot moved, and at least 3 times during the book, I was completely shocked out of my settled expectations about what seems to be
Aaron Nash
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No review that i write about this novel will do it justice. Simply put, it is superb.

The last review i wrote on here i said that i needed to find another crime series that was decent and made me love the genre again. Well hell, i was lucky i came across this. This ticked all of the boxes.

Be warned that this novel is truly extreme. The killer, the novelist, is seriously one of the most terrible, evil antagonists i have ever come across and the crimes that they commit are disturbing to say the le
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The problem I have with this is that I read book 2 before I read this one. However I think I'd probably say that - for me - the second book is better than this one. Lemaitre writes well sometimes and those books are well worth reading. This is not a bad one but do read them in order! ...more
Caidyn (he/him/his)
Well, dammit. I'm going to be in a book hangover the whole day now.

I can't remember the last time I finished a book so fast. Honestly. Those last ~100 pages flew by so freaking fast that it all feels like a blur. (I slightly blame the coffee I drank this morning; I rarely drink coffee.) Instead of going to Ethical Theory this morning, I want to curl up in a little ball outside the classroom like Squidward.

But, I will go in and do my best to pay attention to psychological and ethical egoism.

Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
My View:
Bold, bloody and devastating.

My first thoughts are that this book is bloody and dark and twisted beyond my general tolerance for such things. The horror, torture, brutality and the vivid depiction of the savage crimes against women left me stunned and shattered my dreams. I woke with a bad taste in my mouth.

However with reflection and distance I can see the book is very well written and translated, the only problem here that this, the first book in the series was translated and released
Aug 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I read this after Alex, which I really liked, for I'm not sure I would have continue reading the series. I wanted to find out what happened to Camile's wife and boy did I. Gruesome, horribly gruesome. Was it necessary? Maybe, given the nature of the other murders but...... the 3 stars are for good writing but I can't say I "liked" it. I had problems with Camile using his home address for the ads, big red flag that something terrible was going to happen. Just didn't think it would be so ...more
Emmy Hermina Nathasia
Having read Alex first, I can only give Irene a 4/5 rating. Knowing how it ends suck big time! But it doesn't lessen the effect of horrible, devastating and heartbreaking end the book carries. This book is brutal and gory, not for the light-hearted. The plot unlike other mystery-psychological thriller reads I have ever read (and I've read quite a lot) so be ready to be surprised. Overall, a must read series for the fans of the genres. Gotta find Camille now. ...more
Kasa Cotugno
First in a trilogy of fine police procedurals by Pierre Lemaitre featuring Camille Verhoeven. Very literary treatment, incorporating murders staged as homages to scenes ripped from famous crime novels. Warning, quite graphic, but emotionally sound and original.
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
absolutely incredible!!!!!!!!!!!
Marie the Librarian
Well this was bloody and gruesome and since I read book 2 first(curse you Norwegian publishers) it wasnt that surprising! But it is a good and thrilling book!
James Markert
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, dark and brutal but completely un-put-downable! Seven meets Silence of the Lambs! Not for the squeamish but otherwise highly recommend for the lovers of dark suspense thrillers!
Tanja Berg
I might have to add a bookshelf "mind fuck". That's what this was and I am deducting a star for it and probably should another. I don't like authors playing readers for fools through technique rather than plotting.

This is the first French crime novel I have read, at least one set in France with a French judicial system to get used to. It took a bit of getting used to. I liked the beginning, the characters were astutely drawn. The short commandant Camile Verhæven and his beautiful, heavily pregn
Mohammed Sheikh
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, french
Find more reviews on--

Irène is the first book of "Verhœven" trilogy written by French writer Pierre Lemaitre. Two young woman's were found brutally murdered in Paris. Commandant Verhœven starts investigating the crime scene didn't offer any clue to proceed but he got the feeling that the crime scene is identical to a very famous classic crime novel. to solve this case alongside his team. But this can be coincidence. But when verhœven find that another unsolve
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Pierre Lemaitre is a French novelist and screenwriter. He is internationally renowned for the crime novels featuring the fictional character Commandant Camille Verhœven.

His first novel that was translated into English, Alex, is a translation of the French book with the same title, it jointly won the CWA International Dagger for best translated crime novel of 2013.

In November 2013, he was awarded t

Other books in the series

Camille Verhœven (4 books)
  • Alex
  • Rosy & John (Camille Verhœven, #3)
  • Camille (Verhœven, #4)

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