Bernard Minier: the unique know-how of "king of thriller"

Bernard Minier the unique know how of quotking of thrillerquot

Bernard Minier doesn’t like being reminded of this feat of arms, but we can’t resist it. On April 15, 2011, Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès left the Formula 1 hotel in Roquebrune-sur-Argens to disappear forever. On images taken by video surveillance cameras, the last known of the assassin, we saw him with a book in his hand: Ice, the first book by Bernard Minier. While Christine Dupont de Ligonnès is currently making the rounds in the media claiming that her brother is still alive (as well as his family), we found a good argument to defend this conspiracy thesis: fond as we know of detective novels, our is a man hidden somewhere reading and rereading Minier’s work?

Water has flowed under the bridges since the shock of Icethat the Sunday Times had ranked among the 100 best detective stories and thrillers published between 1945 and today. Translated into 27 languages, Minier has released 11 novels which have to date sold 6 million copies in France, and 1.3 million abroad. It is a hit in Spain, Germany and Poland, and recently in Scandinavian countries. The “king of thrillers” (according to El País) can he keep his crown with The Erasedhis 12th novel?

We find the character of Lucia Guerrero, an investigator from the UCO (the Unidad Central Operativa, the research section of the Spanish Civil Guard). She finds herself once again in Galicia, where the corpse of a young woman lies on a beach, a pair of scissors stuck in her neck at the level of the carotid artery. This crime follows two similar murders: that of an employee of a cannery in La Coruña and that of a cleaning lady. Would a crazy person blame anonymous people who get up early in the morning to go to work? Things are not so simple: Lucia is called back to Madrid where the body of a billionaire, jet-set figure, has just been found, hanging from a chandelier. On a wall is written: “Let’s kill the rich”. Other wealthy people will then drop like flies, while Lucia is herself the victim of blackmail which turns into death threats. In this sinister saraband, Lucia will come across, as always at Minier, colorful secondary characters, including a minister, a contemporary artist and a cosmetic surgeon, each more unhinged than the other…

When will the cover of Telerama ?

How does Minier stand out from the average crime fiction writer? A former customs inspector, he worked his way around for a long time before becoming a novelist at the age of 51. Above all, he read a lot, including Thomas Bernhard and Witold Gombrowicz when he was young. He confesses two masters: Pasolini and Balzac. Like the latter, he likes to examine the other side of contemporary history. Here, he deciphers the culture incel, this radical fringe of masculinism which abounds on the darkweb. He also tells us in enlightening pages about the upheavals of Spanish society since Francoism.

Unlike Mathieu Belezi, a writer born in Limoges who fills us with the Algerian war even though he has no family ties with this country and has even, by his own admission, never set foot there, Minier does not is not above ground. Born to a Spanish mother who fled her homeland for economic reasons, he has this culture in his blood, and you can feel it. He often told it: at the age of 20, responding to the call of Movida and believing himself to be a mixture of Kerouac and Henry Miller, he had temporarily stopped his studies to go to Spain for a year to lead the bohemian life – drugs and nights in local houses, as he wandered. Remaining attached to these vagabonds of literature, he did not become a bedroom writer who talks nonsense from his sofa, posing to the intellectual. He goes out into the field. For writing The Erased, he went to Madrid to meet the colonel head of the UCO and various people from his team, including the geeks from the department against cybercrime. He then traveled across Galicia, notably the village of Cuenca, which produces poetic and lively scenes. In 2019, when publishing in SpanishA fucking storythe Barcelona daily La Vanguardia had voted Minier’s book best detective novel of the year, ahead of James Ellroy. In France, he remains seen as a popular author while Ellroy is considered by snobs as the equal of God. It’s time for that to change. When will Miner cover Telerama ?

The Erased, by Bernard Minier. XO, 413 p., €22.90.