Wild Dog by Serge Joncour – Book Review

Wild Dog by Serge Joncour – Book Review

WIld Dog by Serge Joncour

Wild Dog

Author – Serge Joncour
Publisher – Gallic Books
Pages – 372
Released – 2nd April 2020
ISBN-13 – 978-1910477793
Format – ebook, paperback
Review by – Clive
Rating – 5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.
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Franck and Lise, a French couple in the film industry, rent a cottage in the quiet hills of the French Lot to get away from the stresses of modern life.

In this remote corner of the world, there is no phone signal. A mysterious dog emerges, looking for a new master. Ghosts of a dark past run wild in these hills, where a German lion tamer took refuge in the First World War…

Franck and Lise are confronted with nature at its most brutal. And they are about to discover that man and beast have more in common than they think.

Review 2020 red

The back cover of my advance paperback copy of Wild Dog describes this as “The literary thriller of spring 2020…” They could well be correct.

Serge Joncour has more or less given us two novels set about 100 years apart but linked by an intriguing remote location. Both stories are atmospheric, tense thrillers and the reader will fear for the worse without really knowing what it may be. They are told in alternate chapters, most of which end in a hook so the author teases us as he swaps the action back and forth. Given that each story is equally compelling that is not a problem.

The 2017 story is the longer and slightly stronger of the two as we witness Lise and Franck using very different methods to cope with the realisation that their successful careers are on the wane.

Do not dismiss the 1914/1915 part of the book which is worthy in its own right with great detail on the effect of the Great War on ordinary French people. It made me realise just how desperate things were for France in 1914 and it helped me to understand why they were reluctant to fight on after our early defeats in 1940.

Yes, Wild Dog is a tense thriller that throughout reminds us of the dangers of the countryside but it is also very strong on relationships. Not just Lise and Franck, Jacqueline and Wolfgang, Franck and Alpha, but also Franck and his phone, the village women and their husbands….

Serge Joncour has written a number of French novels, short stories and screenplays with Wild Dog published as Chien-Loup in 2018. I understand this is the first of his novels to be translated into English and Jane Aitken and Polly Mackintosh are to be congratulated for their contribution. If this is typical of his work they should take a look at Joncour’s back catalogue.

Whether you are a regular reader or just looking for your 2020 holiday reading I urge you to take a look at Wild Dog. It is a true five star read.

Book Reviewer – Clive

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About the Author

Serge Joncour is a French novelist and screenwriter. He was born in Paris in 1961 and studied philosophy at university before deciding to become a writer.

His first novel, Vu, was published by Le Dilettante in 1998. He wrote the screenplay for Sarah’s Key starring Kristin Scott Thomas, released in 2011. His 2016 novel Repose-toi sur moi won the Prix Interallié. Wild Dog is the first of his novels to be published in English.

What did you think of Wild Dog? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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3 Responses

  1. Kate @ Bitch Bookshelf says:

    Thank you for sharing! So glad you enjoyed.

  2. Kathy West says:

    I don’t know if this is for me but I’m glad you liked it.

  3. DJ Sakata says:

    This sounds fantastic – excellent reviewing!