Tarantula, Thierry Jonquet

This bizarre thriller from French author, Thierry Jonquet, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith, introduces us to the delight that is twisted plastic surgeon, Richard Lafargue. Lafargue hideously abuses his wife, Eve, keeping her locked in the basement and whoring her out to strangers, something Jonquet uses to jam as much sado-masochistic sex as possible into this slim volume.

Essentially glorified airport smut, the novel follows Lafargue’s search for the men who hideously raped his young daughter, sending her mad. The twist, without giving too much away, is that he has in fact already caught one of the purportrators and is steadily exacting his revenge, whilst the second, Alex Barny, finds his own way into Lafargue’s web (hence the arachnid title).

Originally published in 1995 as Mygale, this is bland, sensationalist fare. Jonquet’s writing is often clunky and his use of juxtaposing voices is rather pretentious and unnatural. A good trashy read and guilt free too as it abuses its Europeaness, hiding its vulgarity under highbrow references to Sade so you never feel too debauched.

£7.99, Serpent’s Tail

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