Thursday, July 5, 2012

Syndrome E- Franck Thilliez

Already a runaway bestseller in France, Syndrome E tells the story of beleaguered detective Lucie Hennebelle, whose old friend has developed a case of spontaneous blindness after watching an extremely rare—and violent—film from the 1950s. Embedded in the film are subliminal images so unspeakably heinous that Lucie realizes she must get to the bottom of it—especially when nearly everyone who comes into contact with the film starts turning up dead.

Enlisting the help of Inspector Franck Sharko—a brooding, broken analyst for the Paris police who is exploring the film’s connection to five murdered men left in the woods, Lucie begins to strip away the layers of what is perhaps the most disturbing and powerful film ever made. Soon Sharko and Lucie find themselves mired in a darkness that spreads across politics, religion, science, and art while stretching from France to Canada, Egypt to Rwanda, and beyond. And just who is responsible for this darkness will blow readers minds, as Syndrome E forces them to consider: what if the earliest and most brilliant advances and discoveries of neuroscience were not used for good—but for evil.

With this taut U.S. debut, Thilliez explores the origins of violence through cutting-edge and popular science in a breakneck thriller rich with shocking plot twists and profound questions about the nature of humanity.

This was a fascinating book, full of mystery and horror, and even some romance.

The idea of a movie that can affect its viewer is a good one. Like The Ring, anyone who watches it is deeply affected, if not killed within seven days, but what makes it scary and even more interesting is that there is no supernatural element to the story. It’s all based on things that could really happen. I don’t want to give too much away, but it really is a terrifying look into what we allow to enter our brains through our eyes.

The writing was well-paced, with enough suspense to satisfy any mystery and even horror lover. There are two main storylines going at the same time, and while they may not appear to be connected at first, they really are, adding another layer to the book.

Although the characters are not the most unique (one cop with mental issues, and the other one with trouble getting close to other people), they keep things moving along. It never becomes dull and, actually, some of the more interesting parts have little to do with the story itself and more to do with the process of filmmaking, so you might even learn something about that.

I do recommend this one for horror and mystery lovers.

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