After the Crash by Michel Bussi

Unusually for me, I really can’t remember where I first came across this book. It’s easy to see why I was drawn to download it though, with the premise promising a compelling thriller. When a plane crashes into a Franco-Swiss mountainside, only one passenger survives – a three month old baby. When two families step forward to claim her, the search for her true identity begins, in a mystery which spans eighteen years.

The vast majority of the plot is told in journal form, as documented by private investigator Crédule Grand-Duc. These sections were easily the most compelling, keeping the story flowing with just enough twists and tantalising teases to keep the pace flowing. The real roadblocks were the in-between sections, in which we follow members of the two respective families eighteen years later. Some such sections literally just detail the characters moving from one location to another before resuming reading Grand-Duc’s journal, and most of the characters feel resoundingly flat, so it’s easy to see why the story sagged.

The second chief problem is that there’s no one particularly likable for the reader to root for. Even the two main characters are involved in a clandestine, pseudo-incestuous affair that was bizarrely romanticised and not in the least bit palatable. Sadly, my main disappointment is that I guessed the ending in the very first chapter. I kept pushing on in the hope that I was wrong, but alas, the ending was all too predictable.

In its favour, After the Crash is great as a page turner, and took me no time at all the tear through. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as anything but an airport read, but I’d be interested in trying more by Bussi in future.

[Read from 25-27 June 2016]

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