Bestial by Anouk Schutterberg

2007 Adolescents with no history disappear. Handsome, twelve years old, wise, good company, nowhere to be found. Nothing, not a hint. Desperate parents think the worst. The police are in the dark, completely helpless. The investigation stalled and remains there. Such a case that leaves a note of bitterness for everyone.

2020, the family walks around Paris. Suddenly Matilda disappeared. This is a twelve-year-old girl, sweet and obedient…. His father and mother go to the police station. She couldn’t run away, that’s not her style. The commissioner listens, asks questions, and eventually connects with other schoolgirls we haven’t heard from. This story stinks and is reminiscent of the hardships faced thirteen years earlier.

It takes a strike team to hopefully sort this case out and save those who can. With the help of Lucy, who has returned despite her “free-spirited” side, and guided by a few cryptic text messages, the PJ men and women take matters into their own hands. Their investigations will force them to face horror and travel to places where the word “humanity” no longer exists…

The reader is stuck to the pages, the atmosphere is disturbing, we suffer, hope, cling, clench our fists, suffocate … We are seized with anxiety. The author masterfully plays with our nerves.

The plot is fully consistent with the described scenes. A minimum of sentences and short chapters when you are in action and moving from place to place or from the past to the present. The reader is on the move, retrieving all possible information, visualizing each fact, sometimes imagining what happened with fear in the stomach. And then, from time to time, more calm, more descriptive, so that we can absorb what the author is talking about.

There is also an inspiring playlist that is very nice to listen to and very important for certain games.

Anouk Schutterberg touches on current topics, in particular, the excesses allowed by the Dark Web, but not only. Of course, these themes have already been dealt with in other novels. But deftly she combines several themes and does it brilliantly. The main characters (some of which are in his first book, Skin Games, but that’s not embarrassing) really go deep both in terms of character and personal development (I’m referring specifically to Luca and Lina, who became who they were) because their childhood was destroyed). One can (almost, I wrote almost) understand the devastating impulses of some. Moreover, the non-linear construction makes it possible to understand the evolution of individuals, and it is interesting to note at what point a lived childhood can turn a person into a monster. This does not explain everything, but what would happen to us if we experienced the same situations?

Anouk Schutterberg shows us the dark side of men, their perversity, the darkness of their souls, their bestiality. She spares nothing for us.

One might wonder why we value stories that intertwine the cruelty of some with the suffering of others. Probably because we know it’s still a novel, so finally fiction, I’m crossing my fingers that it stays that way……

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