Michel Bussi. Time Is a Killer. Translated by Shaun Whiteside. New York: Europa Editions, 2018. 528p. Paperback. ISBN 978-1-60945-442-5. $18. Fiction
In August 1989, along a dangerous stretch of Corsica’s coastline, 15-year-old Clotilde Idrissi survives a car accident that kills her parents and older brother. Returning to the scene decades later with her husband and teenage daughter, Clo dreads meeting her Corsican grandparents, knowing the encounter will dredge up unwanted memories. As she struggles to understand what happened in the past, someone else delves into her diary, written just before and lost after the accident. Events from past and present unfold, parallels mount, and the mystery deepens. Is Clo’s mother, always an outsider in the powerful Idrissi family, still alive? Was the accident sabotage, and, if so, who was responsible and who was the intended victim? Clo must find answers if she hopes to save not only her sanity but her daughter’s life. VERDICT Harlan Coben fans will enjoy Bussi’s (After the Crash) mystery with its intriguing characters and twisty conclusion, though the pace is as relaxed as a three-week vacation. The family dynamics, seen through the eyes of Clotilde, are complex and compelling. The Corsican settings add to the pleasure of a psychological drama that is at times overwrought but always suspenseful.