Book Review: After The Crash, by Michel Bussi

Publisher: WN Books  |  Publication date: 12th March 2015  |  Edition: Hardback (Review copy) – Now out in paperback: 27th August 2015

“The Airbus 5403, travelling from Istanbul to Paris, crashed into Mont Terri, on the Franco-Swiss border, last night. Of the 169 passengers and flight crew aboard, 168 were killed upon impact or perished in the flames. The sole survivor was a baby, three months old, thrown from the plane when it collided with the mountainside, before the cabin was consumed by fire…”

After The Crash My Review

After The Crash by Michel BussiWith that dragonfly suspiciously gracing the cover this book not only looks sinister, it IS sinister. 

Quite simply, After The Crash embraces tension and suspense with relish. It latched onto me from the off and was utterly, utterly magnificent until the very end. This is a story of unimaginable loss, a desperate bond of love and the lengths people are prepared to go to for their own selfish gain irrespective of the consequences.

In 1980, a baby’s identity is questioned as it is claimed by two families following an aeroplane crash, in which there were no other survivors. For a three month old child to be thrown from the fuselage and live was nothing short of a miracle, and this is how it was reported in the local media at the time: “The Miracle of Mount Terrible”. The journalists manipulated the location of Mont Terri where the collision happened to create a more sensational headline for a tragedy that no one could ever forget anyway.

There were two babies aboard the fatal flight: Lyse-Rose de Carville and Emilie Vitral. Only one child was unharmed. What happened next is a battle of the grandparents; they had each lost their children to the crash and could not face losing a grandchild too. Polar opposites is an understatement: The Vitrals were down to earth yet struggling for money, the de Carvilles had far too much of it, not really giving a damn about anyone else. As their swords are drawn, we get to see their true colours.

Regardless of what these couples believe in their hearts, it was a judge who would award custody of the child to its guardians, based on the evidence of the day. But without DNA matching at the time, how can anyone guarantee the right decision will be made? No one would ever know the truth until much, much later.

A Private Detective, Crudule Grand-Duc, had been hired to work the case from the beginning and was instructed to leave no stone unturned. The PI had compiled a journal of his thoughts and findings covering the gruelling, eighteen year old investigation into the child’s true identity. After drawing a blank, he wrote the last words he was ever planning to pen in true showmanship style (whoever read the journal would be suitable impressed by it) and his next step was to commit suicide to close the chapter on this whole ordeal. That was until he spots something on his desk in his final moments, which has it’s literally been staring him in the face all those years.

The dossier finds its way into the grown child’s hands on her eighteenth birthday, as that was Grand-Duc’s intention. A couple of days later a body is discovered. A shot had been fired from his gun, but clearly it wasn’t suicide. Yet Grand-Duc continues to communicate with us throughout the duration of the book, as passages of his journal are narrated to us via the reader of it at the time.

An abundance of doubt that overshadowed a young life continues to plague her still. Pure desperation mounts as the truth leads to consequences that no one could have predicted. After learning of the contents of the journal piece by piece I too had to brace myself some seriously wicked wrong-doings until I wasn’t sure of anyone’s motives!

With just enough bait to taunt you at the end of each chapter you will be compelled to follow this incredible story where the past converges with present and an almighty revelation is waiting.

Now, it seems there are some mixed reviews surrounding this book.  For pure entertainment value I found it hugely rewarding, plus there’s a few characters you’re not going to forget in a hurry (imagine Wednesday Adams in adult form for one). Personally, I loved it.

Rating: 5/5

(My sincere thanks to the publisher and Rebecca Grey for providing a hardback copy of this magnificent book for review. It’s truly appreciated.)

After The Crash Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

‘Riveting! Bussi spins psychological suspense at its finest with this consuming tale of one child, two families, and the dark secrets that define us all. Clear your schedule; this book is worth it!’ Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Crash & Burn and Find Her

On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames. 168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades. Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?

Eighteen years later, having failed to discover the truth, private detective Crédule Grand-Duc plans to take his own life, but not before placing an account of his investigation in the girl’s hands. But, as he sits at his desk about to pull the trigger, he uncovers a secret that changes everything – then is killed before he can breathe a word of it to anyone . . .



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