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Book reviews for "Japrisot,_Sebastien" sorted by average review score:

One Deadly Summer
Published in Hardcover by Harcourt (1980)
Author: Sebastien Japrisot
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Dark Side of Provence
Get this book if you can find it! A real twister of a plot, an atrocity committed 20 years before, a member of the next generation planning total revenge...every time you think you know what's going to happen, you're taken down another road. A plot skilfully woven with everything gradually revealed, up to a gut punch of a horrifying ending. The ramifications of this story are still occurring to me the next day. It's one of the few books I will keep to reread. The setting of the scene is also wonderful--if your idea of Provence is Peter Mayle's Hotel Pastis or Chasing Cezanne, try a taste of Japrisot for different point of view. If you like contemporary French authors, dont miss it.

Marvelous read
This has instantly become one of my favorite reads. I love to happen upon authors who are new to me. This is the first book of Japrisot's that I've read. I was expecting a murder mystery, and ended up with a classic tragic love story and a heart-wrenching ending. Japrisot demonstrates superior story-telling skills in his revelation of the main characters thoughts and intentions as they speak and act. The dialogue is so well presented even the occasional humorous comment is so natural in its presentation and well-timed that you only realize later that of course even a mentally tortured person has the capacity for comic insight.

a classic whodunit, and much more
While one cannot deny the absolute superiority of A Very Long Engagement, I found One Deadly Summer to be the most enjoyable among the rest of Japrisot's oeuvre. This is one instance where his powers come through with a distinctive flair, upon the themes that echo through all of his work: droplets of truth gathering through a confusion of voices, the sheer blindness of love, the eternal mystery that is woman, the infinite sadness of human error, and the surprises and tragedies that is life itself. How much of the world, and others, do we really "understand"?

Women in Evidence
Published in Paperback by Plume (03 April, 2000)
Authors: Sebastien Japrisot and Ros Schwartz
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A riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma.
Sebastien Japrisot is a world class writer who remains surprisingly unknown in the U.S. His works are usually-I think quite inappropriately-assigned to the Suspense genre. To say Japrisot is a suspense writer is akin to describing an aircraft carrier as a boat-it's technically correct but doesn't begin to fully communicate the reality of the situation.

Women in evidence is a case in point. This is a novel of enormous complexity. At heart it is about loves as obsession-irrational, lustful, confining, explosive obsession. All of these facets of love as obsession are explored through a series of vignettes concerning-presumably, though one is never really certain-one man's relationships with a series of women as related by the women.

We know that what is about to transpire will be highly charged and volatile as we met this fellow at to opening of the novel. He is running along a beach, bleeding profusely from a gun shot wound. Fallen on the beach, he reflects on his situation and how he got there-leading us into the stories that follow.

Although all relatively short, the stories themselves are highly charged, compelling, consuming and sufficiently detailed and well constructed as to seems to be stand alone tales unrelated to one another-yet, there runs throughout the series tantalizing tidbits that seem to tie them all together as fragments of the same man's history. But are they? And if so, which one explains his extreme situation on the beach?

This is one of the most original and complex novels I've ever read. I was completely absorbed and beguiled by it from cover to cover. Like Japrisot's other best works, reading Women in Evidence is physically and intellectually demanding experience, well worth the time and effort for those willing to take the plunge.

Dive in and revel in the mystery.

(In the interests of full disclosure, for those who think the title of this review seems familiar, it is a quote by Churchill. Once, when asked to explain Russia, he replied "One cannot. Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma".)

"...the Seductive Soul of a Classic Noir Mystery......."
...The above quotation is from this novel's back cover and very suitable, this story seduces the reader as completely as the main character seduces the women he meets. "Women in Evidence" is an intriguing and original mystery opening with a young man dying on a beach from gunshot wounds in his chest, his true identity and killer is the puzzle that will keep you turning the pages of this very erotic adventure set during the 2nd World War.

The story is told by 7 different narrators, all women with irresistible obsessions for him, each knows him by a different name & identity. Each writes a testimony of her experiences with "the man on the beach" at the behest of his lawyer, Marie-Martine Lepage, herself the 8th & final narrator in the book and also yet another lover from his past. The women's stories seem to contradict each other - Emma , Belinda, Zozo, Caroline, Frou-Frou, Yoko, Toledo, Marie-Martine give varied accounts of the same man, some wanting to save him, others to kill him. The reader is left to pass judgement on the character of Christophe (or whoever) as he escapes from prison and kidnaps a young bride on her wedding night then is shot on the beach for rejecting her, hidden in a brothel by prostitutes, escapes by sea with an actress after punishing a schoolteacher, shipwrecked on a desert island, recovers in an army hospital, captured & returned to France to face his original crimes of rape & murder. All along, he claims to have been falsely accused of the crimes he was charged with.

The ending was a surprise and very appropriate.

If you have any illusions about being a writer...
then read this book. Interesting weaving of plot among many different points of view. The book begins with a man on a beach with the tide coming in. He's laying there wondering if the tide will take his body out to sea after he dies. He can't remember exactly how he got here, and who it was that shot him.

Chapter break to a desposition from a woman who tells us what she knows about this man. He's an escaped convict and her lover. Chapter break to another deposition: he wasn't the first woman's lover; he barely knew the first woman; he is this woman's lover. And so on.

Japrisot does an excellent job of weaving the story and giving you just enough information to form the story in your mind of what really happened.

Excellent read (as is A Very Long Engagement, also by Japrisot). Well worth the price.

The lady in the car with glasses and a gun
Published in Unknown Binding by Souvenir P. ()
Author: Sébastien Japrisot
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A complex and suspenseful thriller.
A beautiful, neurotic blonde impulsively takes her employer's white Thunderbird for a joy ride from Paris to the sea. Along the way, she keeps meeting people who insist they saw her just a few days before. The situation rapidly changes from amusing to sinister to life-threatening as she seeks to determine just who it is she's being mistaken for.

Full of the charismatic characters and complex plot development so characteristic of Japrisot.

If you are tired of the same formulaic kitsch that seems to dominate the mystery reading lists in the US, then you definitely will want to give Japrisot a try.

noir as night
This is a haunting and terrifying story that grabs you and holds on right to the end. If you enjoy the deliciously creepy tales of Patricia Highsmith, give Japrisot a try--starting with this and/or SLEEPING CAR MURDERS.

Better read 1 story like this than 1000 others
I am a writer. And any book or story I can analyze... but this story I don't want to. It's so good.

Very Long Engagement
Published in Paperback by Havill Pr (1997)
Author: Sebastien Japrisot
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Well worth the time....
I confess that I feel just a bit stingy in offering only four stars to this book, because I cannot identify a single area in which it is lacking. Japrisot's story is both moving and entertaining, the characters are richly developed and easy to care about, and the events described seem completely credible.

I guess I find myself comparing it to books like ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT and A FAREWELL TO ARMS, which is, of course, grossly unfair. For one thing, it could reasonably be argued that those books are among the best written in the twentieth century, and how fair is it to judge every new novel on its ability to measure up favorably to such a standard? Secondly, although ENGAGEMENT is about the First World War, it is more accurately read as mystery/love story.

My favorite thing about this novel is the way in which Japrisot offers the reader an opportunity to form quick intitial judgements about many of the characters, and then slowly provides the reader a deeper understanding of these individuals and their motives as the book progresses. I found that, by the end of the book, I liked almost everyone involved in this story. Perhaps not a "great" book, but certainly a very good one - and a damned sight better than most of what has proven to be publishable/marketable over the last fifteen to twenty years.

Wow! I just finished this book after reading it every spare minute for the last 2 days. I did not want to put it down. The beginning of this novel is probably the best introduction to a group of characters that I have ever read. Not only for its character development but for the rhythm of the language. A spectacular achievement considering this is translated from the original French.

This is a love story and an intriguing mystery as well as an indictment of the carnage of WWI. And in the midst of the climax of the story, the author gives further detail to a minor character (Mathilde's mother cancelling the cheese course) that had me laughing out loud. How did he know that I needed a break in the tension?

This is a well told story that had me enthralled from beginning to end, deepened my definition of love, taught me more about WWI (Pat Barker's trilogy is fabulous for this also, and just as fascinating) and caused me to appreciate again the privilege of reading great literature and all the benefits truly great books bring to life.

A must read.

A Very Long Engagement--A Very Short Night
I read this book in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. Japrisot not only artfully held the suspense until the last possible moment, he gave me such wonderful characters to care about that I couldn't *help* but frantically turn the pages trying to find out Did Manech die or didn't he?? But it's not just a good mystery story. It's realistic historical fiction that gave me a vivid sense of the trenches and post-war life. It's a beautiful, painful romance story. It's a clever, astute rendering of how people help each other and lie to each other and care for each other and punish each other. All of this, brilliant at every facet, in one little book. It's a brilliantly *woven* Mathilde, the heroine, you have to hold on tho the wire and don't let go until you get to the end as Japrisot winds you through his labyrinthine tale.

Trap for Cinderella
Published in Paperback by Havill Pr (1999)
Author: Sebastien Japrisot
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Loved it!
Read "Trap for Cinderella" years ago, but the eerie plot lingers in my mind. Poor, young Dominic (I think that's her name) latches herself onto rich, wild, beautiful Michelle. Michelle casually allows Dominic into her life as a syncophant. Dominic is much like the leachy Mr. Ripley in Patricia Highsmith's novel, in that she envies someone else's life and plots to take that person's life, and become that person. Was young when I read "Trap" and was confused as to who actually survived at the end, the Leach or the rich girl. Hope it was not the Leach. Didn't like her. Would read the book again if I could locate a copy.

Loved it!
Read this book many years ago, but the eerie plot has stayed with me. Now reading "Talented Mr. Ripley" by Patricia Highsmith and the similarities in the protagonists are striking. Both are poor and young and long for somebody else's life. Envy is their driving motivation. Dominic (?), the poor girl in "Trap for Cinderella," insinuates herself into the life of her rich cousin, Michelle. (May have some of this wrong; it has been years.) Michelle casually allows Dominic to become her syncophant, just as Tom Ripley becomes a leach on Dickie Greenleaf's life in "Talented." Still not sure who survives in the end of "Trap." Think it was not the leach. Wish I had a copy to read again. One of the best mystery/suspense novels I've ever read.

cant get enough of him
Japrisot takes the mystery/thriller genre to another dimension. There aren't just plot twists, reading one of his stories is like taking a roller coaster ride with hairpin bends. You're never really sure what the answer is, and yet if you pay attention, maybe you are. When you think you've found an answer, it opens up more questions, revealing levels of complexity most writers never approach. What I particularly like is, he doesnt use exotic and high-flying settings like english manor houses, international espionage, the world of high finance, etc. Like that American genius Rod Serling, Japrisot's plots happen to ordinary people, a salesperson, a bank teller, a truck driver, a farmer. If his books dont hold your attention nothing will. Also the translations have been dynamite and lose nothing. When I run out of his books that have been put into English, I already am stacking up the ones only available in French. Everyone of the four I have read have been masterpieces.

Rider on the Rain
Published in Paperback by Havill Pr (1999)
Author: Sebastien Japrisot
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The Passengers of a Storm!
A crazed sex maniac arrives in a small village along the Riviera. The place is swept with rain and there can be no other welcoming to such a creature! Mellie Mau is a house-wife, the woman of a pilot working for Air France. One stormy night,when is alone, she is followed and attacked by the crazed killer. She is tied and raped! Mellie manages to kill her attacker and dumps his body, trying to conceal the evidence. She tries telling the police what has happened, but backs off the last minute- her reputation will be stained and she does everything in her power to erase this unbearable situation. Then another stranger starts to interfere with her life, the American Harry Dobbs. Dobbs knows Mellie's secret somehow and he sticks to her like glue... Japrisot has produced a great crime/thriller, with the dialogues written just like a screenplay. A must for lovers of crime fiction. Both intelligent and suspenseful!

The Sleeping-Car Murders
Published in Paperback by Plume (1997)
Authors: Sebastien Japrisot and Francis Price
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Slow and unimaginative
Seemed I just kept putting this book down out of boredom, and maybe that's why the plot seemed so confusing--it just wasn't interesting enough for me to follow. The concept was good (that's why I bought the book) & it's the frist Japrisot I've read, but it was lacking in suspense. In the end, the only interest I had in who committed the murder was so I could put the darned thing down for good.

A good read but ... not everything one reads is "meaningful"
The first Sebastien Japrisot I read was One Deadly Summer - a book that caused me to have too high expectations of The Sleeping-Car Murders. The Sleeping-Car Murders is best read as you would read any book by Agatha Christie, etc. etc. ... read as a book of the mystery genre the book is well plotted and has an excellent, surprising and realistic conclusion. However, the reader is unlikely to identify with the "detective"; rather it is easier to identify with the young woman coming to Paris for the first time. And unlike One Deadly Summer, most of the characters are painted sufficiently well to carry the story but not so well that the reader particularly cares what happens to them.

For a delightly, fun and casual read, I recommend the book.

The first clue is in the title....
This masterfully written novel opens with a terrific scene: the train porter wanders through the cars, picking up the detrius of a long night's travel. He finds a scarf, two raincoats, an umbrella, and a leak in the heating system. Then he finds the corpse and his discovery sets off the usual chain of events: ambulance, police, news reporters.

But the title is "The Sleeping-Car Murders": more than one. And indeed, the other passengers of car number 4 begin to die, violently and seemingly at random.

Underlying these deaths, though, are the corrupt, evil, and stupid motives of greed and ego. By the final pages, we realise that the incidents are not random--yet even then the denoument is darkly surprising.

Japrisot is a master writer. His prose is spare and evocative. He is able to create memorable characters and dark suspense in less than two hundred pages. He sweeps us up into a mystery which is intricate and twisted, and he leaves us shocked and saddened by the evil of human kind.

1030 From Marseille
Published in Paperback by Havill Pr (1998)
Author: Sebastien Japrisot
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Adieu l'Ami
Published in Paperback by French & European Pubns (01 October, 1986)
Author: Sebastien Japrisot
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Compartiment Tueurs
Published in Paperback by French & European Pubns (01 October, 1974)
Author: Sebastien Japrisot
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