Bed of Nails

Bed of Nails

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Winner of the Prix Quai du Polar, Antoin Varenne is a rising star in the exciting new wave of French crime fiction. Hard-boiled Paris police lieutenant Richard Guerin thought he knew the depths of human tragedy and perversion during his years investigating suicide cases--not to mention his childhood, raised by his prostitute mother (who left him nothing but her foul-mouthed parrot).

But when a slew of cases that are way too bizarre to be straightforward suicides end up on his desk, Guerin begins to suspect that he is up against a nihilistic evil beyond anything he's encountered before.

First, there is Alan Musgrave, an American man who bleeds himself to death on stage during a sick S&M show in an underground Paris nightclub. Another runs naked into traffic with arms outstretched and is splattered to pulp by a heavy truck. Yet another hurls himself from a museum balcony to death by impalement on a whale skeleton.

Guerin's corrupt police colleagues ridicule his determination to find the connections between these horrifying deaths. Yet he presses on, plunging into the seamy sadomasochistic underbelly of the City of Lights that most never see.

Unexpected help comes from a friend of Musgrave's, an eccentric and resourceful rich American named John Nichols who has recently arrived in Paris toting a bow and arrows. The bloody trail leads them to the upper reaches of both the Parisian police force and the American embassy, while Guerin begins to suspect that the ultimate answer may lie somewhere in Nichols's past.

In Bed of Nails, Varenne does for Paris what James Ellroy did for vintage Los Angeles: He expertly throws a bright light on a fashionable city's hideous hidden face.
Publisher: New York : MacLehose Press, 2014.
ISBN: 9781623651251
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: 244 p. ; 24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Reynolds, Sian


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Sep 21, 2016

There is a mystery but the book provides no answers. The answers are up to you. It is one of those unique books that defy explanation. It's a book that haunts you.

Nov 21, 2014

The description doesn't do justice to this book. I knew nothing about the author other than he was French when I put this book on hold and was pleasantly surprised by this very fluid translation. If you read for happy endings, this is not the book for you.
I would read other novels by Varenne if they were available in translation, but I don't know if they are. SPL doesn't list any others.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SLPL

To Top