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Thursday, June 19, 2014

*[Blog Tour Review] Baudelaire's Revenge by Bob van Laerhoven

Baudelaire's Revenge
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It is 1870, and Paris is in turmoil.

As the social and political turbulence of the Franco-Prussian War roils the city, workers starve to death while aristocrats seek refuge in orgies and seances. The Parisians are trapped like rats in their beautiful city but a series of gruesome murders captures their fascination and distracts them from the realities of war. The killer leaves lines from the recently deceased Charles Baudelaire's controversial anthology Les Fleurs du Mal on each corpse, written in the poet's exact handwriting. Commissioner Lefevre, a lover of poetry and a veteran of the Algerian war, is on the case, and his investigation is a thrilling, intoxicating journey into the sinister side of human nature, bringing to mind the brooding and tense atmosphere of Patrick Susskind's Perfume. Did Baudelaire rise from the grave? Did he truly die in the first place? The plot dramatically appears to extend as far as the court of the Emperor Napoleon III.

A vivid, intelligent, and intense historical crime novel that offers up some shocking revelations about sexual mores in 19th century France, this superb mystery illuminates the shadow life of one of the greatest names in poetry.
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 288 pages (Hardcover)
Source: Review Copy
Available Formats: Print/E-book
Publication Date: April 15th 2014 by Pegasus Books (first published July 1st 2007)            

What a thrilling ride back in time!
I've been really getting into books set in France so when I saw this one on Goodreads one day I knew I had to read it, then I was lucky enough to get the tour invite for it not long after so I knew it was meant to be.

Bob van Learhoven brought 1870s Paris to life for me. In reading Baudelaire's Revenge I felt completely immersed in the history of that time and became really invested in the wonderfully written cast of characters that he obviously spent a good deal of time on getting to be just right.

Before reading this book, I'd had no clue who Baudelaire was but the novel, makes me want to learn more about him. What I loved most about the book is how the author used his poems to fit into this historical mystery. It was done so in such a way that it really made me think, which to me is something I love having. If I don't have to work my brain for a mystery, then it's not much of one in my opinion.

However, like I said this one hit all the marks for me. It had a rich historical setting that showed the underbelly of Parisian society while still giving glimmers of hope. I especially loved Commissioner LeFevre and his dedication to solve the murders as well as loving how his mind worked, I thought he was really fascinating as were the other characters. Each seemed to fit into a certain niche and played a part in the tale.

The plot was great, it was engrossing and definitely kept my attention the whole way through and didn't have any lulls or stale parts. The writing was detailed but not in a superfluous way where things were unneeded. Everything just seemed to play a part so nothing was left out in my opinion and nothing was added in that wasn't essential. I liked see how Lefevre go about solving the crimes and while I thought I knew who the killer was in the end I was completely wrong, and I LOVED that. It came as a complete surprise for me and really made me love this novel even more.

Overall, there wasn't a single thing I didn't enjoy about this novel. At 288 pages Bob van Laerhoven was able to squeeze in a thrilling story that felt much longer (in a good way) because of how well written it was. I will definitely read more by him and I can honestly say that this is one I will be re-reading again. I would recommend this to everyone but I can really see historical fiction and historical mystery fans loving this one.

Author Bio:

Bob Van Laerhoven became a full-time author in 1991 and has written more than thirty books in Holland and Belgium. The context of his stories isn’t invented behind his desk, rather it is rooted in personal experience. As a freelance travel writer, for example, he explored conflicts and trouble-spots across the globe from the early 1990s to 2005. Echoes of his experiences on the road also trickle through in his novels. Somalia, Liberia, Sudan, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar… to name but a few.
Bob Van LaerhovenDuring the Bosnian war, Van Laerhoven spent part of 1992 in the besieged city of Sarajevo. Three years later he was working for MSF – Doctors without frontiers – in the Bosnian city of Tuzla during the NATO bombings. At that moment the refugees arrived from the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. Van Laerhoven was the first writer from the Low Countries to be given the chance to speak to the refugees. His conversations resulted in a travel book: Srebrenica. Getuigen van massamoord – Srebrenica. Testimony to a Mass Murder. The book denounces the rape and torture of the Muslim population of this Bosnian-Serbian enclave and is based on first-hand testimonies. He also concludes that mass murders took place, an idea that was questioned at the time but later proven accurate.
All these experiences contribute to Bob Van Laerhoven’s rich and commendable oeuvre, an oeuvre that typifies him as the versatile author of novels, travel stories, books for young adults, theatre pieces, biographies, poetry, non-fiction, letters, columns, articles… He is also a prize-winning author:  in 2007 he won the Hercule Poirot Prize for best thriller of the year with his novel
De Wraak van Baudelaire – Baudelaire’s Revenge.


*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.
Loved It!
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  1. What a great post! I like historical fiction and this sounds like a great example. I love that it is a thrilling read too as this combines two of my favourite reading genres.

    1. Thanks Cleo :) I definitely recommend this to you if you like a good mystery with a fantastic historical setting.

  2. Sounds like this book really lives up to the promise of the cover. I've been reading more historical fiction lately and this sounds promising. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It does, it definitely has that same haunting allure that the cover has. Sometimes covers don't live up to the story and vice versa but this went together perfectly.

  3. I like the idea of blending his poems into the mystery. Intriguing and clever!

    1. It was very well done, I was a little worried as to how it would play out but they dashed out the window :)

  4. This sounds fantastic Kimberly. I love that Paris came to life for you! It combines several genres and elements I love in this type of novel...adding to my wishlist!

  5. I am not too much into historical fiction or mysteries, but your review powerfully argues the case for it. Great review.

    1. Thanks Kathryn, I can see how they aren't for everyone. It's like me with contemporary YA I'm not much of a fan but every once in awhile one surprises me.

  6. Awesome review. The cover is awesome. It sounds like a good read.

  7. ooh this one does sound thrilling. I love that it had a great setting

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs


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