Skip to main content

Advance Readers' Comments for AFTER THE CRASH

In November, a select group of readers who participated in one of our special contests each won an advance copy of AFTER THE CRASH by Michel Bussi. Take a look at some of the readers' comments to give you more insight into this book... and watch out for spoilers!


Loretta from Hurricane, WV
AFTER THE CRASH by Michel Bussi is a world-class mystery that grabs you on the first page with a riveting description of a plane crash. Rescuers find only one survivor --- a baby girl with blue eyes. Unfortunately, two baby girls were on the plane and two families step forward to claim the surviving infant. I thoroughly enjoyed this intriguing, intelligent mystery that kept me guessing to the very end. Fans of Stieg Larsson's THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and Joel Dicker's THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARRY QUEBERT AFFAIR will love this novel.
Beverly from Temple, PA
A very interesting read as you follow the well-developed characters around France and into the Swiss Alps, blind sighted by twists and turns in the plot, hoping to solve the 18-year mystery before someone else dies. After reading such a page turner, I thought the conclusion was rather abrupt, but did not detract from the novel as a whole. Michel Bussi 's descriptive writing put me in the small villages of France, and I would hope he translates more of his novels into English in the near future.
Rosemarie from Ambler, PA
I enjoyed AFTER THE CRASH very much. There is an airplane crash on flight from Turkey to Paris, and only a three-month-old survives, but there is no identification of who her family is. There happens to be two infants that were on the flight. One set of grandparents are wealthy, while the other couple has moderate income. To add to the confusion, each grandparent is caring for an older child of the parents that were killed. This is before DNA testing and the judge must decide which family the child belongs. When the child turns 18, information concerning her identity comes forward. However, there are so many twists and turns to the plot, it is very hard to determine what is going happen next. The beginning is a little slow, but as the book moves on, it is a real page turner and you can’t put it down. If you enjoyed the Stieg Larsson books, you will definitely enjoy this.
Nadine from Westfield, NY
I could not put this book down! I will be hard-pressed to enjoy a book in 2016 as much as this one for many reasons. First, the translation from the French does not read as if it is translated and making you wonder at the meaning of some idiom or reference. Secondly, the narrative has two ongoing timelines: the present of 1998 with specific dates and times, and the past 18 years as told through a journal. The short segments of each allow you to pick up and put down the novel with ease, especially great if you can not sit and devour it. Thirdly and most importantly, the plot is superb, which unfolds with revelations and surprises right up to the last chapter. All the hints and events tie together so masterfully at the conclusion. I highly recommend this for book club reading, for someone who wants a good "clean" read without sensational sex and violence, and for anyone wanting what will probably be one of “the” books to read this year.
Josie from Birmingham, AL
AFTER THE CRASH is a well-written mystery filled with twists and turns. It begins with a simple premise: finding the real identity of a baby who was the lone survivor of a plane crash. In an era before DNA testing, a detective spends 18 years searching for irrefutable proof of the baby's identity. Mr. Bussi makes us care about the characters, who are all victims of circumstances beyond their control. How the uncertainty of the identity of the baby shapes each of their lives is the underlying theme of this novel. I am a huge mystery novel fan, and the author kept me intrigued from the beginning to the end. I am looking forward to reading more works by this author.
Kelly from Palos Verdes Estates, CA
Wow! I just finished  reading AFTER THE CRASH and was amazed! I have to admit I was uncertain about how I would react when it was compared to GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. I was in the minority and did not enjoy those books. This, however, was a very captivating mystery with interesting character development and an intriguing story. 
I had travelled to Paris this spring and actually stayed in Marne-la Vallee for a week and rode the trains to and from Paris five times. The names of the stations and location of the de Carville’s home was very familiar and I felt a connection with Marc. We also flew from Paris to Switzerland and during our stay, sadly, there was a commercial plane crash in the mountains with no survivors. This also made the story seem very real. 
I often find that I can “solve" the mystery before the end of many of the books I’ve read, but was intrigued with this story until the very end. The ending was also satisfying and did manage to cover all aspects of the mystery. I would highly recommend this book and will look forward to more by this author.
Mauricio from Pompano Beach, FL
This was a fantastic read. I raced through the pages so fast that I kept forgetting to breath. I think this was the best book that I’ve read this year. I love the way the story was told and the way a journal was used to explain some facts. I already recommended this book to all my friends.
Rich from Manchester Township, NJ
With the success of GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, many mysteries are compared to them. I haven't  found one that has lived up to the comparison, until I read AFTER THE CRASH by Michel Bussi.
I was interested in the story from the first few pages. The mystery of the identity of the baby, the lone survivor of a plane crash, had me guessing until the very end. I was also interested in the French settings. Their descriptions were detailed. My only criticism is the relationship of the brother and sister --- it was a bit creepy.
I recommend this book. It was a quick, fascinating and intriguing read.
Sue from Fort Lauderdale, FL
Two days before Christmas, 1980, a plane carrying 169 passengers, including two infants, bound for Paris crashes in the Swiss Alps. The only survivor is a three month old baby girl, thrown from the fiery wreckage onto the snowy mountain. The miracle soon turns to heartache because the authorities are unable to identify the child.
Two sets of grandparents, one rich and one poor, lay claim to the baby. The rich grandparents, the deCarvilles, insist that the baby is Lyse-Rose, while the poor grandparents, the Vitrals, claim that the child is Emilie. Although the evidence is incomplete, the baby, renamed Lylie, is given to and raised by the poor grandparents.
Enter private eye Credule Grand-Duc, hired by the deCarvilles to solve the mystery of Lylie’s identity. They will pay him a handsome annual fee until Lylie’s 18th birthday, even if he solves the case sooner. Credule proceeds to seek evidence and pursue any clues for the next 18 years.  Having been unsuccessful in his investigation, Credule is ready to commit suicide within days of Lylie’s 18th birthday, when he experiences an amazing insight.
The story is told by alternating between the months following the crash and the custody battle in 1981, and the months leading up to Lylie’s 18th birthday in 1998. Credule has kept a casebook of his investigation. He hands it over to Marc Vitral (possibly Lylie’s brother). Marc uses it to try to solve the mystery.
Bussi is a wonderful storyteller. The cast of characters is colorful, driven by multiple motives. The backstory is told effectively through the casebook. The details are engaging, seeming at times tangential, but in fact serve to build the different points of view. The twists and turns are constant and the reader never sees the ending until the grand finale.  
AFTER THE CRASH reminds this reader of the Jussi Adler-Olsen Department Q series. The characters are quirky, and the reader is kept in a constant state of suspense by a writer that gives the reader some information and then immediately throws up a roadblock that requires more information. The reader is driven to keep turning the pages.  
Although AFTER THE CRASH is more than 350 pages long, it is difficult to put down. Apparently more than a million copies have been sold worldwide. It is Bussi’s first crime novel to appear in English. We can only hope that we see more of Bussi. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and a great start to 2016’s MUST READ list.
Judith from Valley Stream, NY
AFTER THE CRASH is amazing! It kept me guessing until the very end. I have already put it on the list for my book club to read, and have recommended it to all of my friends. This is the best book I have read in a long time!
Paisley from Scottsdale, AZ
It got me right from the get-go. It probably didn't hurt that I was sitting on a plane, having saved the book to read on a long flight across the country. Reading about the crash was a bit disconcerting under the circumstances, but I couldn't wait to get into the mystery…
Readers of GONE GIRL and/or THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN will likely be just as intrigued by this thriller. The juxtaposition of the present (18 years after the crash) and a detective's journal describing his investigation of it over the years add suspense and wonder. I admit I did not solve the mystery myself; thus I read as fast as I could to find the answer!
I would give the book a five-star rating and look forward to reading more from this author. Now to decide to whom to pass on my copy of the book...
Connie from San Jose, CA
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written and kept you engaged trying to figure out the baby's family.
Constance from Rapid City, SD
This was definitely a mystery! At times I found it difficult to follow because of the back and forth dates. It was well written as far as keeping the reader guessing the outcome. I had not read this author before and will recommend him to others.
Candace from Pride, LA
I gave this one three stars. Although it was suspenseful and kept me turning the page , it was somewhat unbelievable. DNA could have determined the identity of the child. I did have to set it aside to catch up on some required reading I was behind on, but found myself being anxious to pick it back up to find out what happened! I like the author’s style of writing and would definitely read more of his novels.
Debbie from Waterville, OH
I very much enjoyed AFTER THE CRASH. The writing style was a bit stilted, but I wondered if this is a translation from French. I enjoyed the visual settings, as it brought back vacations to Paris years ago. It’s a very good suspense thriller. I would definitely read more of his works when they are translated into English. I can read short spots of French, but not well or quick enough to devour one of Michel Bussi books!
Carolyn from Cincinnati, OH
Airbus 5403, flying from Istanbul to Paris, crashed in the Swiss Alps in December, 1980. All passengers and crew die except for a three-month-old baby girl found in the snow near the wreckage. Who is this precious miracle child? There were two infants on board. Two sets of grandparents claim her. The court must decide between the two grief stricken families. Readers enter the story when Lylie turns 18 and receives a document written by a detective who investigated the claims for years. She is also given a stunning ring as well as access to a hefty bank account. There is a loving brother, a neurotic sister, and two grandmothers who are weary from years of struggling with loss and secrets. Michel Bussi has written a brilliant murder mystery moving the story through 18 years and managing to tell the story from many viewpoints. He avoids confusion with headings that guide us. This psychological thriller kept me guessing and totally absorbed in the drama all the way to the last page.
Marilyn from Lake Mills, WI
I just finished AFTER THE CRASH by Michel Bussi. It is an unforgettable story, elements of which will 'haunt' me for some time, I'm sure. As a thrilling crime novel, it certainly succeeds! I couldn't wait to finish it, but I did think it was a little 'slow' during the descriptions of Grand-Duc's investigation. I was also a little disappointed that there weren't more details about Marc and Lylie's lives at the end of the story. I thought the ending was a bit abrupt after all the build up. All in all, I enjoyed it and will be ordering a copy for the library where I work.
Peggy from Santa Monica, CA
AFTER THE CRUSH is the story of Lylie, two families, Vitrals and DeCarvilles, and a detective, Grand-Duc. The story alternates between narrative in the 1980s and the narrative of the detective’s diary. The story presented an interesting premise, and I was immediately intrigued. Even though there are some questions left unanswered, it was an interesting read and I would give it three star rating.
Sandy from Summerville, SC
Absolutely loved it! From the unusual plot to the twist at the end, it kept my attention. Something I can't say for many books these days!
Mary from Coconut Creek, FL
This was a interesting book with enough twists and turns to keep me interested, even though I figured out the ending early in the book. The premise of a single baby surviving a plane crash is ridiculous, but the idea of grandparents fighting to claim their grandchild is plausible. The characters were well developed, for the most part.
Jayne from Newtown Square, PA
I was looking forward to the next Stieg Larsson, GONE GIRL or THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, as the book jacket promised. Sadly, that is not what the book delivered. I can't decide if it was problems with the translation, thinness of the characters, or the ridiculous premise of the story itself. But, the book just doesn't work. If you enjoy fiction, you are willing and indeed anxious to suspend disbelief. A good book will reward that willingness. This book does not.
Shelby from Charlottesville, VA
I was looking forward to reading AFTER THE CRASH because of a blurb that said the book was reminiscent of Stieg Larsson. However, after slogging my way through the story, I can honestly say that it is like comparing a Rolls Royce (Larsson's books) to clip-on roller skates (AFTER CRASH).
The author did rope me in on the first few pages --- setting up a situation that impelled me to keep reading to the end in order to uncover the "mystery" and hopefully, find a satisfying conclusion. However, the implausible journey to the grand finale was not a pleasurable one. I thought the ending was silly --- actually, ridiculous and forgettable.
Perhaps it was due to the translation from French, but his writing style didn't appeal to me. For me, there was no texture or soul. Although I got to know the characters on a shallow level, I didn't care about them, their lives, or their destinies. 
Even though I didn't enjoy this book, I appreciate having had the opportunity to read it ahead of its publication here in the United States.