The Moment Before Drowning by James Brydon review


Synopsis (as taken from GoodReads)

In 1959, a French Resistance hero investigates a murder in a small Breton town, while awaiting his own trial.

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, and 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 on display 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 girl’s murder, the violence and guilt intertwine with his own recollections of Algeria and threaten to submerge him.


Set in the aftermath of WWII, as Europe is still dealing in the aftermath of the French Resistance, this novel follows Captain Jacques Le Garrec. Jacques had been accused of a brutal crime and is awaiting trial. While awaiting his fate he investigates a brutal murder that happened in the Previous winter.

As the novel delves deeper and deeper into this mystery, the novel becomes more and more suspenseful. This novel is fantastically written and well researched. The time period is on point as it delivers beautifully written descriptions. You can tell the author did a good job researching this time period. The setting is well done as is descriptions of locations.

Overall, I found this novel vastly entertaining and impossible to put down. The writing had me hooked from page one! Such a unique little mystery set in a time that was heightened with fear and panic surrounding the the story’s time period. The characters were well written and diverse. I found myself drawn to each character in this book as each pulls the story together in a unique way. This is a definite one click read!

5/5 Stars

***I received this book as an ARC from Askashic Books in exchange for an honest review***

Shelved: Fiction, Suspense
Hardcover, 224 pages
Expected publication: July 3rd 2018 by Akashic Books

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