An extraordinary story with a compelling narrative most of the time, After the Crash is a very tempting thriller with a satisfying end. Translated from French, this novel by Michel Bussi is intermittently predictable yet exceptionally gripping. Being a French novel, the character names and places are in French which is a little difficult to remember.
Detective Credule Grand Duc is assigned the task of investigating an airplane crash which leaves 168 dead out of the 169 passengers. The sole survivor is a 3 months old baby girl. Who is she? Two families- Vitrals and de Carvilles, claim the baby is theirs but there is no identity or clue to say which family the baby belongs to. Grand Duc sets on a mission to find what happened and it takes him 18 years to find the absolute truth.
After the Crash left me with a mixed feeling. As much as I absolutely loved the concept behind the novel, somewhere I was a little disappointed with the execution. There were good number of twists and turns throughout the book, but the rest of the parts kind of became a little repetitive that I tended to skip a few lines in between to get to the point. The pace could have been better. Into few chapters, I easily had a handful of solutions to the mystery and I was sure it has to be one of them and I wasn’t wrong.
Grand Duc isn’t an exceptional detective; at the same time it’s not necessary for all detectives to be extraordinary. He is hard working. He doesn’t have path breaking moves or phenomenal style of investigation. His style is straight forward and methodical. I didn’t feel any admiration or sympathy for him at any point of time over his strenuous leg work; probably that’s what the author wanted. Of course, it was great to see his persistence, to continue looking for an answer for 18 years and finally succeeding, but at what cost?
The author does a great job in showing the state of all the characters. All everyone wants is for the baby to have a happy and comfortable life and everyone strives for that and goes to any length to procure the baby and make them part of their family.
The two most affected people in this story are Marc Vitral and Malvina de Carville- Marc being Lylie’s (the baby girl) brother and Malvina being her sister. Marc gets hold of Grand Duc’s diary and follows the path to the truth with Malvina accompanying him reluctantly. Marc is who shines at the end of this adventurous ride.
On the downside, the font in the edition I read was so small that it was too difficult to read through.
After the Crash is definitely an above average read. It scores highly on the concept and characterisation. With little patience, this book would definitely score.