In Baudelaire’s Revenge a serial killer stalks Paris during the Franco-Prussian War (1870). As enemy shells fall, a detective descends into the darkness to find him...or her. At the center of the book is the poet Charles Baudelaire, author of the notorious Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil). Though he has been dead for three years when the novel begins, his odes to the seductive embrace of sex and death, poems that created such sensation and scandal, echo on every page — because someone is murdering those who persecuted Baudelaire during his life and leaving each corpse with a few lines of his verse.
Bob Van Laerhoven has written more than thirty books in Belgium. He has become known for his colorful, kaleidoscopic novels in which the fate of the individual is closely related to broad social transformations.
Van Laerhoven won his country’s Hercule Poirot Prize for best detective novel with Baudelaire’s Revenge in 2007. And he has brought together all the elements of a classic policier — the atmosphere of dread, the underworld filled with dangerous and duplicitous suspects, a detective as flawed as the criminals, and corpses, lots of corpses. But this is not a conventional detective novel. While the story moves quickly, it is less about detection and deduction than about characters revealing their dreams and despair. Van Laerhoven is after something more than the simple solution to the crime, and his ambition carries the reader along.
Baudelaire's Revenge is published in the US by Pegasus Books in hardcover in 2014. The paperback edition is slated for spring 2015.