It’s always a pleasure to get to know the work of different authors. The experience of ‘meeting’ a new-to-me author broadens my reading horizons and gives me a better perspective on crime fiction. That’s part of why I’m pleased to be a part of the New-to-Me Author meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise.
For this quarter, I’d like to focus on the work of Pascal Garnier (1949-2010). You may already be very familiar with Garnier’s work, but for those of you who aren’t…
Before pursuing writing as a full-time career, Garnier had several different jobs, including a brief stint in the world of rock ‘n roll. Once he devoted himself to writing, Garnier actually developed two very different sides to his writing life. One of them was an interest in writing children’s books. The other was a series of sometimes very dark noir stories. And it was arguably those stories that got Garnier international attention.
I first got to know Garnier through The Front Seat Passenger. In that story, the police have the thankless task of informing Fabien Delorme that his wife Sylvie has died in a tragic car accident. To make matters worse, she was not alone at the time. She had a lover Martial Arnoult who was with her and who also died in the crash. Delorme is almost more devastated at the fact that Sylvie had a lover than he is at her death. As he finds out more about Arnoult, he discovers that the man left a widow Martine, with whom Delorme becomes obsessed. He begins stalking her and finally gets a chance to meet her. Then that obsession leads to a series of events that spin more and more out of control.
Like his other stories (e.g. The A26 and How’s the Pain?), The Front Seat Passenger combines dark wit with a noir feel. There’s also Garnier’s trademark taut, spare writing style that conveys quite a lot in a few words:
‘Everyone knows that excessive happiness is as off-putting as excessive misfortune.’
That writing style also keeps the pace of the story moving quickly.
Garnier’s stories often feature ordinary human beings – people one might see at a shop, a restaurant or the cinema – who are driven to desperation. That desperation leads to all kinds of events that often go from bad to worse…
If you read French, you can find out more about Garnier right here.
There’s also an interesting English-language article about his work here.
Want to know more about The Front Seat Passenger? It’s right here.
*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Alanis Morissette’s Head Over Feet.