Monday, November 17, 2014

Short: "Fatale" by Jean-Patrick Manchette

Short: Fatale by Jean-Patrick manchette, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith, 1977 French, 2011 translation for 9781590173817.

A week ago at WLA someone asked if I was still doing video book talks and posting them online. I've slacked off for several reasons but I will occasionally read something and think how it would be a great piece to read aloud. Fatale is only 91 pages long and the first chapter, at two pages, would be ideal to read aloud for a video.

I ordered this for work after a blurb by Unshelved. Aimee is a French woman, in her thirties, thin and fit, who travels the country finding work as a killer. She'll move to a town, insinuate herself into the lives of the local upper class and pay attention. After a time she'll have identified the schisms, the jealousies, the money troubles, the infidelities and make an offer to make a killing.

Aimee hates "the real assholes" in life and seems to enjoy killing them. She killed her abusive husband and got away with claiming he stabbed himself by accident. Now she travels to Bleville on the West coast and meets the local bigwigs. She plays bridge. She goes to parties. She watches the married couples. She sees who fights. Who plays politics. She identifies a man who others would pay to kill. Many people take up her offer, not knowing the others are paying her for the same thing.

The killing does not go well. Aimee loses her interest but succeeds as the victim bleeds out. She tries to turn herself in and make sure the moneyed people get busted. But, the cop is a stooge for the rich and Aimee is taken to a remote meeting. Bad idea because Aimee makes things very bloody.

Quick and dark. Manchette translated American crime novels and those included work by Westlake. This has stark Stark feel with Aimee a matter-of-fact killer.

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