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Four girls disappear in the forest


Toni Coppers

Alex Berger, a rather unusual private detective, was chief of police in Brussels in an earlier existence. Now he leads a solitary life and regularly heads out into the natural world. Berger is on a retreat in the Italian Alps when inspector and friend Sara Cavani of Interpol asks him to come back to help investigate a gruesome murder. Alex hesitates, but eventually takes the bait.

In the Ardennes, in the ancient Anlier Forest, a ranger has found the body of a young woman lying naked on a tree stump, abused and strangled. The scene of the crime conjures up sinister memories of a cold case from several years ago, when a young woman was found murdered in the same woods. The investigation focuses on Suxy, an isolated village in the middle of the forest, inhabited mainly by elderly people and by eccentrics who are trying to build new lives for themselves.

Coppers further elaborates on the primal fears to be found in fairy tales by the brothers Grimm.
Gazet van Antwerpen

The local detective is none too pleased that ‘busybodies from Brussels’ are meddling with the investigation, but that doesn’t deter Berger from making his own unconventional inquiries. He goes to ground in the enormous forest and is confronted there with his own fears and demons. While the bond between him and local police commissioner Roos Collignon grows increasingly intense, the murderer is already in search of a fresh victim.

Most striking about ‘Sacrifice’, aside from an ingenious and exciting plot, are the detailed psychological descriptions of the personalities of those involved. Coppers’ language is accessible, but it provides space for reflection and depth. Through the character of a friend of Alex Berger, a bookseller, literature has a special part to play in the book.

An exceptionally good thriller. Cinematic. *****
A real treat. ****
Vrij Nederland