Yeruldelgger is a relatively recent, prize-winning French crime novel (it’s still commercial fiction, but apparently a good example of the genre.)
Here’s a confession: I don’t really like crime novels. After reading a few, they all sort of start to feel the same to me. Some reveal their villains early, other go for a twist. Maybe the villain escapes or maybe he doesn’t, there’s usually an incompetent or corrupt policeman, and so on and so forth. Most crime novels remind me of the standalone episodes of crime procedural shows.
And at the end of the day, most try to distinguish themselves with a gimmick. Some go for the torture-porn angle, others shoot for improbable backstories for their protagonist.
Yeruldelgger is, unfortunately, no exception (except it double-dips the gimmick) Gimmick 1: it takes place in and around Ulan-Bator, Mongolia. Gimmick 2: the main character has an implausible backstory (including time spent in a monastery and the tragic loss of one of his daughter.)
If you can get past that (and I could) – the book is decently well-written. It avoids relying on Parisian slang, and it’s short on magical coincidences (even though it at first seems to fall into that trap at first.)
Verdict? Tolerable airplane reading material, increasing to straight good if you’re a crime book fan. It’s definitely not worth learning French to read that though, but since we’re going to take a look at Proust in the coming months maybe get started on that anyway.