With La Vallée, Bernard Minier offers new blood and hope to booksellers

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“Friends are the angels who lift us up when our wings can’t remember how to fly.” This sentence did not come from a Chinese fortune cookie but from the pen of Guillaume Musso (in The Paper Girl). In his study for Weekly Books, the GfK Institute reveals that the author remained the most popular during confinement. The marshmallow and the snuffer. Double trouble!

The French certainly read during their house arrest – and not only Plague from Camus – but not enough. With 15.5 million books sold in eight weeks, publishing is down 60%. This is why the best-selling authors all tumble into bookstores at the end of May. You have to bet on sure values.

The next Musso Life is a novel, title already used in its time by Alain Resnais, the new Joël Dicker are announced. Or the first big thriller of this spring, The valley(XO éditions), signed Bernard Minier in bookstores since Wednesday May 20. Mining, not to be confused with the former singer of the Musclés who has converted, we are told, into hard-rock …

Has he been sweating cold since being named one of the Top 100 Crime Novels by The Sunday Times? asked Yves Calvi who received him with the friend of the books Bernard Lehut in his morning cultural program, “Let yourself be tempted”. No, the Commingeois is not troubled. Probably because he arrived late in this trade, after a career in customs. “I was a small employee who took his RER every morning, three hours of transportation a day, that puts many things into perspective”, he confides. Before I talk about cooking. He sees his books as dishes he wants to eat. Made with rather rare meat. “In your valley there are murders of rare cruelty”, notes Lehut, happy to find Martin Servaz, the Maigret de Minier.

The inhabitants of the Pyrenean village where this police commander is investigated are cut off from the world. A section of mountain has collapsed on the road that links the town to the rest of the world. Children can no longer go to school. Parents are unemployed. We are doing as best we can, with obvious distrust of authority. Does that remind you of this confined hell?

Crime is not the only narrative here, but a crowbar breaking the locks that separate village communities, letting their anger explode. We think of that of yellow vests. The author acknowledges being inspired by it. The thriller is a literature of reality. A mirror reflecting our doubts, our anxieties and our monstrosity. And as Bernard Lehut says, in conclusion: “Fuck the chips!”

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