On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames.
168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly.
The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl.
Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades.
Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?Eighteen years later, having failed to discover the truth, private detective Crédule Grand-Duc plans to take his own life, but not before placing an account of his investigation in the girl's hands.
But, as he sits at his desk about to pull the trigger, he uncovers a secret that changes everything - then is killed before he can breathe a word of it to anyone . . .
After The Crash by Michel Bussi was published by Weidenfeld in paperback on 27 August 2015, and is tagged 'the psychological thriller that became a word-of-mouth bestseller.' It was translated from the French by Sam Taylor.
Michel Bussi is either a genius, or he is completely mad. After The Crash is a whirlwind of a read that had me frantically turning the pages and wondering just where the author was going to lead me to next.
This is a complex, and yes at times, complicated story based upon an intriguing premise. A plane crashes en route from Turkey and the only survivor is a three-month-old baby. Two couples claim that the baby is their granddaughter, and because this is 1980, and DNA has not yet been discovered as a way of confirming identity, it is up to a judge to decide who the little girl is.
Private detective Credule Grand-Duc is hired by one of the grandmothers, he is put on an eighteen year retainer, and tasked with discovering the truth. After The Crash is Grand-Duc's story, told through his journal and read by Marc Vitral, who may, or may not be, the brother of the little girl.
Do suspend disbelief at times whilst reading, because there are a few glaring holes to this plot, but these are more than made up for in the thrill of the chase. Bussi has a very creative imagination, hurling more clues and more red herring along the way, there were times when I was convinced that I knew just what was happening, only to be thrown another curveball in the next chapter.
One of the highlights for me was the whole 'French' feeling of this story, not only the language but the incredible sense of place. The Paris streets, the newly created Disney town, all of them are incredibly atmospheric and I enjoyed the journey very much.
After The Crash is a book that has left quite an impact on me. At times it's quite outrageous, but it is very clever and very enjoyable.
My thanks to Rebecca from Weidenfeld who sent my copy for review.
Michel Bussi is the author of eight bestselling thrillers.
In 2013 alone, his books sold half a million copies in his native France.
He has won fifteen literary awards, making him one of France's most prestigious crime authors.
When not writing fiction, he is a Professor of Geography at the University of Rouen and a political commentator.
AFTER THE CRASH is his first book to be published in the UK.