Anne Trager recently founded Le French Book, a digital-first publishing venture dedicated to bringing France’s best crime fiction and thrillers to new readers across the English-speaking world. Their motto is “If we love it, we’ll translate it,” and they love a good mystery. She also translated their first three titles—a psychological thriller/legal procedural, a more classic whodunit, and a police procedural set in Paris, along with a bunch of short stories by top French writers. Here she tells us a little more about the venture and what they have in the pipeline.
What if you could discover France while reading the best French crime fiction in English? This simple question sums up the whole project behind Le French Book and probably also my vision of life as an American who has lived in France since 1985. I always loved crime fiction and thrillers and, I must admit, this is almost the only genre I read. After several years in France, I started to discover French crime fiction novels and was amazed by the richness and creativity of a great number of French authors. So I read, I read, I read. Then, I realized that only very few of these books were available in English. I couldn’t stand it that so many good reads were not reaching a larger audience. I had to do something to help English-language readers to discover them.
That’s how we started Le French Book. We are looking to touch people who like a good read, who like to be entertained. I think that what makes the French angle of this venture so interesting is that I am an outsider looking at France not from the outside in, but from the inside out. It's like Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence. What made that book work? In part, it was his British perspective on French culture. Le French Book is like that. I have lived in France for a very long time, but I'm an American. My choices of books we translate come from there.
We recently published our first three titles, which are available on the major eBook platforms (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks) and to libraries through Overdrive. They are distributed worldwide. Here’s a little something about them:
The Paris Lawyer by Sylvie Granotier (www.theparislawyer.com), a prize-winning psychological thriller that doubles as a legal procedural by an acclaimed master of French crime fiction. It is the story of a rookie lawyer whose first career-making case takes her from Paris to rural France, where she has to solve mysteries from her own past.
Treachery in Bordeaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen (www.treacheryinbordeaux.com), a classic whodunit set in French wine country, made for television in France. It is the first in the 20-book Winemaker Detective series, which follows gentleman detective winemaker Benjamin Cooker and his sidekick as they basically enjoy food and wine and are while they solve mysteries in this international luxury industry.
The 7th Woman by Frédérique Molay, who has been called "the French Michael Connelly" (www.the7thwoman.com). This police procedural won one France’s most prestigious crime fiction awards and was voted Best Crime Fiction Novel of the Year. It is an edge-of-your-seat police procedural set in Paris, where Chief of Police Nico Sirsky and his team race against the clock to stop a serial killer preying on women in the French capital. This is the first of a series.
We have a number of other exciting projects, including 52 short stories by seven of France’s top authors, which are available on our website now, free of charge (www.52serialshorts.com), and two really fun spy novels coming up. The Bleiberg Project, by David Khara (www.thebleibergproject.com) is full of action, humor and likable characters, and Greenland: The Thriller by Bernard Besson revolves around the geopolitics of global warming with lots of action and an entertaining team of freelance French spies (just imagine…). The author is the former chief of staff of the French equivalent of the FBI (I like to think of him as the for right hand man for the French M, but I don’t think that is entirely accurate). He was involved in dismantling Soviet spy rings in France and Western Europe when the USSR fell and is a specialist in economic intelligence, in addition to writing prizewinning thrillers. A recent blog post interview his about fact and fiction in spy novels.
And this is just the beginning. We are now working with more translators and scouting for more great books to translate.
"Brilliant,” “Captivating” Thriller, an Instant Success in France, Soon in English from Le French Book
Le French Book announced the upcoming release of a prize-winning spy novel that took France by storm reaping superlatives: “Spellbinding,” “exceptional”, “staggering,” “fascinating,” “astounding.” The book has sold over 100,000 copies already and catapulted its author into the ranks of the country’s top thriller writers. The eBook will be released in April. www.thebleibergproject.com
Le French Book Giving Away a Full Year of Good Reads: Fifty-two Stories from Seven Top French Authors
Le French Book is giving away a full year's worth of good reads: 52 short stories by seven of France's top authors, including two Goncourt prize winners and one of France's most-read writers. They are not strictly crime fiction, but a lot of fun to read. www.52serialshorts.com