The 13th Toulouse Polars du Sud festival takes place until Sunday and tells about fifty writers from ten countries. Selection of cream of the crop.
Sponsor of the 13th edition of Toulouse Polars du Sud, Carlos Salem published his 10th novel last year, “The Last Case of Johnny Bourbon” (Actes Sud, 222 p., € 21). We find there Detective Arregui, supported, for the second time, by a certain Juan Carlos, well hidden under the disguise of an English cop and delighted to spice up his life as a retired king. The investigation into a double murder is only a pretext for folding adventures, told with an exuberant and funny pen. A delight.
Spain and its recent news are seen in a much darker way by Antonio Altarriba and the designer Keko in the graphic novel “Me, liar” (Denoël Graphic, 162 p., € 21.90), which follows on from “Me , assassin ”and“ Me, crazy ”. In an expressionist black and white just punctuated, at times, with green spots, the formidable duo recounts how left-wing politicians got entangled in corruption and twisted blows. A terrifying immersion in a drifting world.
From the South to the Far North, it is a sky leaden by shenanigans and various trafficking which obscures the horizon. Olivier Truc has become a first-rate witness, who brings his expertise as a journalist to intrigues which, on the border between Finland and Russia, confront reindeer herders and their traditions with industrialists and shameless thugs. Fourth episode, as biting as the arctic wind, “The dogs of Pasvik” (Métailié, 430 p., 21 €) evokes with identical mastery the majestic harshness of the landscapes and the dark projects of humans worked on by their demons.
Lives in smoke
It is one of the most ambitious books of the year, of all genres, and it is perfectly successful. With “Their soul to the devil” (Gallimard, “Série noire”, 600 p., 20 €), Marin Ledun wanted to dismantle the deadly cogs of the tobacco industry, ready for anything, from charm to corruption, to seduce and rot as many customers as possible. The story runs from 1986 to 2007 and is opposed to a few police officers with unwavering stubbornness to industrialists and lobbyists with considerable means. The plot is solid, based on imposing documentation. And the characters, searched to the darkest of their being, terrible and fascinating. Equally powerful is “Traverser la nuit” by Hervé Le Corre (Rivages Noir, 320 p., € 20.90). In Bordeaux, a serial killer attacks women at night. A policeman on the verge of rupture follows his trail. And crosses paths with a woman abused by her ex. Well versed in the social thriller, the author knows how to describe misery and all that it causes without ever forgetting to surprise the reader. His art of suspense is as sharp as his sense of humanity. Her new novel is as breathtaking as it is overwhelming.