THE MAYFLY by James Hazel
Published by : Zaffre
Genre: Crime and Mistery
Rate : 4/5
My opinion: A macabre, gory thriller with an historical twist and a main characted with a stong stage presence.
From the horrors of Buchenwald in 1945 to the present. The Mayfly opens in a cabinet hidden deep in the woods where police are attending a grotesque crime scene. A mutilated corpse was discovered, or at least all that was left after what seems to be horribly wild self-inflicted wounds. The dried insect tacked inside his through.
Next thing Miles Endler, the son of Millionaire CEO, was found dead in the basement of one of his father warehouses, brutally tortured and former Detective Inspector, now turned into a successful lawyer, Charlie Priest gets caught up in the search for the killer and reluctantly involved in a story that seems to be connected to the atrocius experiments on war Prisoners during World War II.
A dark oppressive atmosphere that blends very well the elements of thriller with well-researched parts of history. A split timeline that alternates between the interrogation of a nazi doctor in a remote farm in the English countryside and the ever more intricate connections of a case that seem to involve Prist more personally than he would have thought. James Hazel never lingers too much on hystory, but provides just a well-attentively selected information to build a solid background that would eventually reconnect with the discoveries of Priest and his associates.
Brilliantly written despite being a debut, it maintens a great pace throughout the all story. The scenario presented in the book is real enough to scare the reader with one or two gory graphic description that might be disturbing for some, making this book not suitable for the most senstive readers.
Charlie Priest is the key to this novel. The man is characterized by his social ineptness and incurable dissociative disorder that often blocks his work with moments of balack out and profound dissociation from reality. Despite following the line of many others " flawled heros" before him this character did not feel like a cliche at all. Few legal elements and a strong investigative component will bring Priest very close to the Endler's by investigating family dynamics that somehow recall the well-known Michael Brunswick investigations in " The girl with the dragon tatoo" by Stieg Larsson.
There were quite a lot of twists and while I expected many of them to happen, I did not guess the full truth until the end. There are still some part where the credibility of the whole story waver a bit and one or two doors that were left open, I suspect, for a possible return of Mr Priest in the near future.