King of thrillers, intriguing in its precision and formidable in its descriptions, here are the terms that can be used to describe Maxime Chattam. Enthusiasts of investigations, creepy and even horror (human or supernatural), you have surely already crossed paths with this French author, as brilliant as he is crazy. If all his novels are not equal (in particular The signal Where A secttwo of his last works), I can only advise fans of the genre to run towards the trilogy of evil, a true reference of the genre because it is truly exceptional from A to Z. Otherwise, and it is more what interests us, you can go for the Ludivine Vancker saga, whose The Constancy of the Predator is the fourth installment. Verdict?
Summary: They nicknamed him Charon, the ferryman of the dead. Of his modus operandi, we know nothing, except his signature, singular: a bird’s head. He was never arrested, never identified, despite the considerable number of victims he left behind. Until these crimes resurface from the past, in the depths of an abandoned mine. Dive with Ludivine Vancker into the department of behavioral sciences, profiling them, even into the soul of a monster.
Do you have to have read the original trilogy to understand this opus? Not really. It’s better, of course. This allows us to better understand the psychology of her main heroine, and it is an understatement to say that she is seriously drooling over it. However, Chattam, well aware that five years have passed since The Call of Nothingness (against two years between each volume for the previous ones), did his job perfectly to explain his universe to newcomers. So rest assured, The Constancy of the Predator reads perfectly, whether or not you are familiar with the world of Ludivine.
If Maxime has also dabbled in the supernatural and horror, The Constancy of the Predator is a thriller pure and simple. Although, as often with this gentleman, absolute horror is never far away (and that’s what we like). Whether through the prologue or in the very tone of the novel, we constantly flirt with atrocity, when we don’t dive head first into it. The hunt for Charon is exciting in every way. As usual, Chattam managed to create a believable and fascinating serial killer from scratch. It doesn’t seem like it, but creating such a complex psychology of a being such as Charon and bringing it to life over an entire novel is an extremely difficult exercise, which has been successfully achieved with flying colors. The monster is believable, as is the investigation.
For newcomers, how to describe Maxime Chattam’s style? The first word that comes to mind is description. Passionate about criminology, which he studied at the same time as criminal psychology, the art of forensic medicine and technical and scientific police, the author is always very complete in the description of his universes and above all, of his crime scenes. Some of his novels are even really not recommended for sensitive souls, Chattam not depriving us of details as vile as uncomfortable. The Constancy of the Predator follow this modus operandi with the greatest efficiency. Lovers of dialogue will therefore be a bit frustrated by the writer’s ability to chain the pages without any protagonist saying a word… except to shout. The others will devour the long pages of description, whether those of the crime scenes, or the passages that accompany the victims in their ordeal.
The strength of the novel is above all the coherence of the whole. The amount of detail provided by the author, who uses here all his knowledge in the police fields, or in the psychology of the characters, is mind-blowing. You could almost use it as a course in criminology, as the profiling techniques deployed are so fascinating and instructive. We imagine each scene perfectly, from the appearance of the protagonists to the sets. Chattam delivers a perfectly conducted investigation, with constant twists (often at the end of the chapter, of course) to lead us to a finale of great intensity. Of course, if we love the gentleman so much, it is also for his ability to dive even further into horror. This novel is no exception to the rule and offers really disturbing crime scenes and descriptions that could really create discomfort for the most sensitive. We are not on such a level that The Promise of Darkness Where In Tenebris (the prequel and the 2n/a opus of the trilogy of evil), but we are getting closer. We were expecting a sequel to the stories of Joshua Brolin, we got that of Ludivine… Well, we are very happy!
The Constancy of the PredatorMaxime Chattam
Albin Michel, November 2022, 448 pages