Monday, June 23, 2014

Baudelaire's Revenge by Bob Van Laerhoven

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Obtained from: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours/Edelweiss
Read: June 15, 2014

It is 1870, and Paris is in turmoil. As the social and political turbulence of the Franco-Prussian War roils the city, workers starve to death while aristocrats seek refuge in orgies and seances. The Parisians are trapped like rats in their beautiful city but a series of gruesome murders captures their fascination and distracts them from the realities of war. The killer leaves lines from the recently deceased Charles Baudelaire's controversial anthology Les Fleurs du Mal on each corpse, written in the poet's exact handwriting. Commissioner Lefevre, a lover of poetry and a veteran of the Algerian war, is on the case, and his investigation is a thrilling, intoxicating journey into the sinister side of human nature, bringing to mind the brooding and tense atmosphere of Patrick Susskind's Perfume. Did Baudelaire rise from the grave? Did he truly die in the first place? The plot dramatically appears to extend as far as the court of the Emperor Napoleon III. A vivid, intelligent, and intense historical crime novel that offers up some shocking revelations about sexual mores in 19th century France, this superb mystery illuminates the shadow life of one of the greatest names in poetry.

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I didn't know what to expect from Bob Van Laerhoven's Baudelaire's Revenge, but I'm very pleased to have taken the chance and picked it up. The seediness of the narrative, cleverly constructed mystery, and convoluted character of the novel's protagonists held true appeal, pulling me out of my world and into the dark underbelly of nineteenth century Paris. 

As if that weren't enough, Laerhoven gets major points for creating a mystery I didn't see coming. Smart and well-crafted, I was on edge of my seat from the first, as desperate to identify the killer as Lefevre and Bouveroux. It isn't often I'm caught unaware and the fact that Learhoven was able to do this only enhanced my appreciation for the piece. 

A gritty and elaborate thriller, Baudelaire's Revenge represents a perfect blend of fact and fiction. Explicit, but engaging, I greatly enjoyed the time I spent with this piece. 

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"I brought a genius into this world, a genius and a monster. And you cannot imagine the price I have had to pay. The artistic soul does not confine itself to to the conventions of bourgeois society that would have us believe in the existence of order and law. In reality, death, chaos, and eternal lust govern our lives. You consider yourself a servant of Justice, but pain and revenge count more nowadays than a blindfolded trollop with counterfeit scales, who lets herself be raped by the powerful of this world."
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Check Out All the Stops on Bob Van Laerhoven's Baudelaire's Revenge Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, June 9
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, June 10
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Thursday, June 12
Review & Giveaway at Words & Peace
Monday, June 16
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Tuesday, June 17
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, June 18
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection
Thursday, June 19
Review at A Bookish Girl
Review at Turning the Pages
Monday, June 23
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Interview at Layered Pages
Tuesday, June 24
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, June 25
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day
Thursday, June 26
Review at A Book Geek
Review at The Lit Bitch
Friday, June 27
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Monday, June 30
Review at Reading the Past
Tuesday, July 1
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, July 2
Review at Layers of Thought
Spotlight & Giveaway at Books and Movies
Thursday, July 3
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review, Interview, and Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Feature & Giveaway at bookworm2bookworm’s Blog

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