In 1999, in the small provincial town of Beauval, France, twelve-year-old Antoine Courtin accidentally kills a young neighbor boy in the woods near his home. Panicked, he conceals the body and to his relief--and ongoing shame--he is never suspected of any connection to the child's disappearance.
But the boy's death continues to haunt him, shaping his life in unseen ways. More than a decade later, Antoine is living in Paris, now a young doctor with a fiancée and a promising future. On a rare trip home to the town he hates and fears, Antoine thoughtlessly sleeps with a beautiful young woman from his past. She shows up pregnant at his doorstep in Paris a few months later, insisting that they marry, but Antoine refuses.
Meanwhile, the newly discovered body of Antoine's childhood victim means that the case has been reopened, and all of his old fears rush back. Then the young woman's father threatens Antoine with a paternity test--which would almost certainly match the DNA found on the dead child's body. Will Antoine finally be forced to confront his crime? And what is he prepared to do to keep his secrets buried in the past?
“A really excellent suspense novelist.”–Stephen King
“The front rank of the French crime-writing fraternity.” –William Grimes, New York Times
“Lemaitre fires away in a prose style that’s like a flurry of short jabs to the solar plexus.”–Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
“Lemaitre adapts Larsson’ blueprint with moves of his own.” –Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times
“Lemaitre has gone from strength to strength…the ghost of Alfred Hitchcock hovers over this one, but there’s little doubt that the Master of Suspense would feel that his legacy is in reliable hands.”–Barry Forshaw, The Independent
"Creepy, demented, and typical of Lemaitre's crime fiction: unpredictable in a deliciously depraved way. Readers . . . will not be disappointed. Atmospheric and chilling and packed with Lemaitre's trademark twists and turns." –Kirkus Reviews