Art & Culture

Published on July 23rd, 2020 | by Chloe Niccolo


Book Review: “L’Effet Domino” by François Baranger

Imagine a historical thriller written by Maupassant or Zola… The result could have been The Domino Effect, an atypical, intelligent, instructive novel.

Paris – 1907. Dropped into the middle of Paris with the idea of taking a fresh look at the development of a plan to combat crime in the capital, Inspector Lacinière will actually find himself confronted with one of the worst serial killers ever.

Appointed at the head of a highly secretive team by the prosect of Paris, Lacinière and his team must solve a wave of murders with strange methods affecting loved ones.

Philippe Lacinière was not chosen at random. The killer is also targeting police officers responsible for the investigation, as well as their relatives, and none of the security forces want to deal with the matter for fear of reprisals. Besides being an excellent investigator using new methods, Lacinière is a loner.  He has no family, no friends, and he comes straight from his native Brittany.

“Hurry up”, The newspapers exclaim of the ineffectiveness of the police with this serial killer who signs his particularly horrific crimes by leaving a domino lodged in the throats of his victims as a signature.

Everything indicates double-six, a convict whose body is covered in domino tattoos whose wildest rumors are circulating on his behalf.

To overcome this wave of crimes, Lacinière will have to team up with Thomas Abeille, a young officer, Albertine de la Roche-Dufresse, a young noble feminist and Paul Saint Alexis, a journalist ready to do anything to get the scoop.

Fans of thrillers, history or classic literature such as Balzac or Zola, will find themselves  caught up in the mystery. For those nostalgic for old series, The Domino Effect will no doubt remind you of The Tiger Brigade but released in 2017, in a particularly successful remake.

Everything on this small paved path will lead you to those streets of Paris at the turn of the century. First the pen, along with the expressions, and an added sensibility for the classic side. In this thriller, we’re dealing with a particularly gifted investigator who’s  ahead of his time. Particular scenes at certain times can make one think of the Silence of the Lambs.

Even If author François Baranger isn’t a historian, he impeccably makes us recall a Paris of the past right before our very own eyes with a highly visual writing style that one  could almost get the impression of watching a film.

François Baranger

Nothing is left to chance. After setting the scene and building upon the characters, we gradually enter the heart of the investigation and even if we are fully submerged in the story, the author doesn’t forget to slip in certain details of the period to remind us that we are still in the year 1907.

A novel with an original format, very detailed and sometimes complex, yet always very engaging.

A page-turner to explore AB-SO-LU-MENT

L’Effet Domino by François Baranger – Editions Bragelonne – 2017 

This article was translated in English by John Wilmot. 

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