Set in the Lorraine region of France this novel is a thriller amidst a background of corporate corruption and social tensions. Told from the perspective of many of its characters it leaves the reader wondering who to trust and who is right or wrong. No one is squeaky clean in this book and that makes it all the more compelling because you're not sure where it's heading next.
The solitary housing estate rises up in the middle of the Lorraine plateau, just above Pondange and its valley. It dominates the vast stretch of land which is bald on one side and has verdant woodland on the other. Half empty car parks are dotted around the estate, a contruction dating back to the last heyday of the iron and steel industry. It is well maintained, recently renovated and the majority of residents are unemployed. This morning, there's a biting wind and the few men and women who are leaving for work, dropping the kids off to school on the way, hurry towards their cars.
Two men in their thirties, athletic looking with short hair, square jaws and inscrutable expressions, wearing work boots, jeans and leather jackets, are hanging around the building. Etienne Neveu's wife, a well built woman with flaxen hair, is late. At last she emerges from block C, chivvying along two little girls, half dragging, half carrying them towards a battered Clio. She piles them on to the back seat, turns on the ignition, yanks the car into gear and drives off. The two men walk up to the door of block C, glance around, nobody in the lobby, too early, too cold for the young loafers. They go in, take the lift, third floor, the door on the left. One of them rings the bell. Silence. He rings again. Reluctant footsteps, and a sleepy voice enquires
'What is it?'