FF’s Star Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
The past can be an ugly son of a gun, can it not? One so ugly that pushing it back in one’s mind proves to be nothing but the most fruitless of mental actions. Like a whale that needs to break through the ocean surface once in a while, that ugly past always seems to rear its ugly head at the most inopportune of times. Just ask Paul Muller of Double Echo by François Bloemhof, a crime novel.
Carrying a suitcase filled with clothes, Paul Muller, a former policeman running away from a past he would very much like to forget, gets off a train, walks a road, and his fate collides with that of a wealthy man and his chauffeur. The unthinkable happens soon enough, much to the dismay of Johnny, Bernard’s original chauffeur who hasn’t gone to many lengths to hide his dislike of this drifter man named Paul. Bernard offers Paul a job.
Bernard Russell, the wealthy man who makes it clear that he is a middleman, hardly clarifies what exactly he does for a living, but he seems to have a big old house, a maid, a driver, a daughter, and a beautiful dark haired woman named Michelle that lives there too. The reader joins Paul Muller as he is introduced to this new realm of wealth and power while he tries to keep as much details about his past secret.
When we first meet Paul Muller, he is a drifter armed with nothing but a suitcase full of clothes. Perhaps it is because of Paul’s inability to keep his past demons at bay that he chose to run away and keep on running until he became one of those serial-killer-like-folk we tend to see by themselves, stabbing the air with their thumbs as if most of us are actually dumb enough to give them a ride. As if.
Paul, who the author eventually reveals to be a man running away from a dark past, cannot help but find himself attracted to this Michelle that can pick up a glass and make it look very sexy. And so, is it possible that Paul, who is in no way a good man, is going to figuratively bite the hand that feeds him for the night by trying to court Michelle somewhere in the night when rich Mr. Russell is not looking?
It might be a bit ludicrous to think that a wealthy man like Bernard Russell thinks it wise to give a drifter such as Paul free board for a night as if it is the most normal thing to do in the world. But oh well, our author has to move the story along, doesn’t he? Perhaps his wealthy man is not as mad as the reader thinks. Perhaps the wealthy man has clear motives, whatever they may be.
So the reader dives on in, quite eager to find out what Paul Muller’s drifting has brought him to. I would say that Bloemhof knows the recipe for the kind of book that gets the questions firing up while simultaneously making one shout at the unseasonable devil who knocks at the door while one is reading this book. Reader of crime thrillers, this book is reading time well spent. Demons, sex, money, betrayal. Join Paul through all of these.
Free paperback received from Penguin Random House SA.
Date Published: August 1, 2016