The Moment Before Drowning - A Novel
Publisher: Akashic Books
“A stunning and intelligent debut novel; powerful, intense and raw . . . an insightful psychological portrait of a man on the edge.” —NB Magazine
December 1959: A furious anticolonial war rages in Algeria. Captain Jacques le Garrec, a former detective and French Resistance hero, returns to France in disgrace. Traumatized after two years of working in the army intelligence services, he’s now accused of a brutal crime.
As le Garrec awaits trial in the tiny Breton town where he grew up, he is asked to look into a disturbing and unsolved murder committed the previous winter. A local teenage girl was killed and her bizarrely mutilated body was left displayed on the heathland in a way that no one could understand.
Le Garrec’s investigations draw him into the dark past of the town, still haunted by memories of the German occupation. As he tries to reconstruct the events of the murder, the violence of this crime and his recollections of Algeria intertwine, threatening to submerge him.
“[A] provocative and unsettling first novel . . . a remarkably assured debut by a gifted new writer.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Take a bit of Albert Camus, mix in some Nobel Prize-winning Patrick Modiano, add a dollop of French noir, and voilà, you have James Brydon’s The Moment Before Drowning.” —Denise Hamilton, bestselling author of Damage Control
“An exploration of political oppression wrapped in a carefully constructed mystery. In Brydon’s auspicious debut . . . the characters are alive and the mystery is mostly satisfying. An erudite and entertaining addition to the shelf.” —Kirkus Reviews