Baudelaire's Revenge by Bob Van Laerhoven

Publisher: Pegasus Books April 15, 2014
Genre: France, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Mystery, Crime Novel
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 272
Rating: 1 Star---did not like and do not recommend---Remember, the following review is my own feelings and opinions in regard to this book. Thank you. 
Source: Free copy from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Charles Baudelaire 1821-1867
"It is 1870, and Paris is in turmoil.
As the social and political turbulence of the Franco-Prussian War roils the city, workers starve to death while aristocrats seek refuge in orgies and seances. The Parisians are trapped like rats in their beautiful city but a series of gruesome murders captures their fascination and distracts them from the realities of war. The killer leaves lines from the recently deceased Charles Baudelaire’s controversial anthology Les Fleurs du Mal on each corpse, written in the poet’s exact handwriting. Commissioner Lefevre, a lover of poetry and a veteran of the Algerian war, is on the case, and his investigation is a thrilling, intoxicating journey into the sinister side of human nature, bringing to mind the brooding and tense atmosphere of Patrick Susskind’s Perfume. Did Baudelaire rise from the grave? Did he truly die in the first place? The plot dramatically appears to extend as far as the court of the Emperor Napoleon III. A vivid, intelligent, and intense historical crime novel that offers up some shocking revelations about sexual mores in 19th century France, this superb mystery illuminates the shadow life of one of the greatest names in poetry." Summary Courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

My Thoughts: 
Charles Baudelarie was a 19th century poet in Paris, France. He was a modernist. The definition of modernity according to Wikipedia is to "capture" the "ephemeral experience" of city life in all its essence. 
The definition sounds lovely and poetic. A dark and troubling side of Baudelarie, was his views of women, Satanism, and drugs which produced hallucinations.  
I knew none of the above information about Baudelarie before reading the book. In the press release, none of this was mentioned. The word evil was used to express an element of the story, but perpetrators are evil in their crime, it is a description of the thought and action of what they've done. 
In Baudelaire's Revenge, there are no "good" characters, no redeeming qualities of kindness, nor valor, in any character, this includes the inspectors. 
It is a rarity for me to read and review a 1 star book, but if I do not, the public will not know of its dark side, and this after all is apart of why I review---for readers who may not know unless I tell them.  
I find it ironic that I'd recently read and reviewed the book, Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience by Kent A. Kiehl, PhD. 
There are characters in Baudelaire's Revenge, which describe a psychopath. These characters are on both sides of law enforcement. This gives the book a no-mans-land-feeling, where there are no fundamental humane qualities.  
I speed read the book (all 272 pages) in about an hour and a half. I read enough to understand the story, but did not care to read the details of sexual sadism, bondage, vulgar words and scenes. 
My goal was to finish the book for review, I did not care who the murderer was, and by the last page I still didn't care. 
Sexual sadism and child sexual abuse is not art, it is not poetic. There are women and children raped everyday, there is a crisis in the world of sex-trafficking. I'm sickened by the contents of this book in regards to its "merit" among those precious people who've been abused, their lives never to be the same again. 
Rape is about control, power, and dominance, over another person. 
The detective inspectors suffer from anxiety, flash-backs, and addictions, to cover-up their memories of being in Algiers during a war. Their symptoms describe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My eldest son has PTSD as well as other mental health problems. When a person has a mental health condition, this does not mean the person is evil or will become evil, nor does it mean they are not capable of living a valid life, nor does it mean they are going to become an sexual predator, sadist, or murderer. 
My final comment is in regards to the odd, macabre, insolent, view and portrayal, of Christ Jesus and Christianity. Although, that is Satan's tactic, to lie and steal and "try" and destroy the image of Christ Jesus. But, the final chapter has already been written in regards to this. 

Bob Van Laerhoven became a full-time author in 1991 and has written more than thirty books in Holland and Belgium. The context of his stories isn’t invented behind his desk, rather it is rooted in personal experience. As a freelance travel writer, for example, he explored conflicts and trouble-spots across the globe from the early 1990s to 2005. Echoes of his experiences on the road also trickle through in his novels. Somalia, Liberia, Sudan, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar… to name but a few.
During the Bosnian war, Van Laerhoven spent part of 1992 in the besieged city of Sarajevo. Three years later he was working for MSF – Doctors without frontiers – in the Bosnian city of Tuzla during the NATO bombings. At that moment the refugees arrived from the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. Van Laerhoven was the first writer from the Low Countries to be given the chance to speak to the refugees. His conversations resulted in a travel book: Srebrenica. Getuigen van massamoord – Srebrenica. Testimony to a Mass Murder. The book denounces the rape and torture of the Muslim population of this Bosnian-Serbian enclave and is based on first-hand testimonies. He also concludes that mass murders took place, an idea that was questioned at the time but later proven accurate.
All these experiences contribute to Bob Van Laerhoven’s rich and commendable oeuvre, an oeuvre that typifies him as the versatile author of novels, travel stories, books for young adults, theatre pieces, biographies, poetry, non-fiction, letters, columns, articles… He is also a prize-winning author:  in 2007 he won the Hercule Poirot Prize for best thriller of the year with his novel De Wraak van Baudelaire – Baudelaire’s Revenge.
For more information please visit Bob Van Laerhoven’s website. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Link for tour

Tour Schedule:
Monday, June 9
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, June 10
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Thursday, June 12
Review & Giveaway at Words & Peace
Monday, June 16
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Tuesday, June 17
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, June 18
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection
Thursday, June 19
Review at A Bookish Girl
Review at Turning the Pages
Friday, June 20
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Girl
Monday, June 23
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Interview at Layered Pages
Tuesday, June 24
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, June 25
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day
Thursday, June 26
Review at A Book Geek
Review at The Lit Bitch
Friday, June 27
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Monday, June 30
Review at Reading the Past
Tuesday, July 1
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, July 2
Review at Layers of Thought
Spotlight & Giveaway at Books and Movies
Thursday, July 3
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review, Interview, and Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Feature & Giveaway at bookworm2bookworm’s Blog


  1. I struggled with the atmosphere of the book as well, though being French I was very familiar with Baudelaire's world, as every French student is. But putting aside my feelings, I have to say this book is extremely well constructed and written, no wonder it received a very prestigious award

  2. Yes, I'd read your review as well as others. I did not like anything about the story. I have a check list that I utilize when reviewing a book, things to look for, etc. It was a struggle and challenge to finish the book. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


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