Sunday, 18 October 2015

Carnage by Maxime Chattam

Carnage is a great little book; at a little over 100 pages it’s more a novella than a novel. But what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in punch. The story revolves around a series of school massacres, a subject that in the current climate is as raw and emotional as they come. Our protagonist is LT. Lamar Gallineo, a scruffy loner of a detective.

Our detective is called to the scene of the first massacre and with the culprit having killed himself as those who commit such massacres have a tendency to do, it seems to be an open and shut case. But then a few weeks later there’s a second massacre, and another, and Lamar soon comes to the conclusion that they’re connected. He proceeds to investigate and away we go.

Despite having only comparatively few pages to play with, the author brought Lamar Gallineo alive to me and I could easily spend more time with him, perhaps in a full-length novel next time. Unfortunately the other characters aren’t as well drawn but that’s forgivable in a short and snappy tale.  I had some issues with the police procedure, you don’t need to be an expert to know that detectives wouldn’t be walking around the scene of a massacre when the gunman was yet to be apprehended and his death hadn’t been confirmed. But once again I found myself forgiving this oversight. Similarly I felt that more could have been made of the plot. In fact I felt that the brevity of a novella was an odd length for this story, there being so much more that the writer could have done with it. That said the subject matter made this visceral and gripping and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

I would award this book five stars

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