The Covid descended like a “tornado of misery” on Papeete. Shops closed for lack of customers. The city, ruined, knows its great depression, “throwing down the weakest”, writes the author at the end of this trilogy carrying the concept “azure black”, a sort of hell for the little ones in this corner of Polynesian paradise. The duo of investigators, the journalist Mamea and the photographer Lilith, Maori with a tattooed face, come together when they come across a mute kid, in rags, a construction cutter in his hand. In a nearby dump, three corpses will be found, obviously executed by this weapon, and a little girl, tied by the neck to a tree. Descent into the purgatory of Gauguin’s island, where the ecosystem – drugs, resourcefulness, hustlers – had to be reviewed in the light of “Disease” (capital letter for Guirao), where children disappear, where we would like to give the social workers “to eat with the dogs”… This last investigation of Guirao resembles his texts, when he is a lyricist of songs (Obispo, Birkin): all of sadness and mixed joys.

Dark Shore, by Patrice Guirao (“The Black Beast”, Robert Laffont, 360 pages, 19 euros).

The killer extract: Old So is left alone. The kid left. She knows he will be back. He always comes back and she will beat him again. The sky has darkened. This is the time when the birds silently listen to the river. She hears it tenderly rolling its clear water over its bed of gray pebbles, like a fragile crystal. Everything that she has never been given to share: tenderness and fragility. Her existence, she has dispensed between acceptance and loneliness. Malevolence and repulsion. Repugnance and disgust. Violence and hope. She is fully aware that it was in the flame of her wounds that she was forged. He has to go back far in his memory, climb through time by the force of fears, distress, drama, adversity and fate, to glimpse the vague memory of tenderness. A smile maybe. A woman. Young. Her mother, no doubt. And then nothing. Nothing more than the fear of dying. She has plenty of memories. They are sad and bitter. The most violent, the founding memory, is a painless white spot. And the dread in his mother’s eyes. His step back. The first. His hands retracting. Who are hiding behind his back. Little did she know that her whole life would end in that moment. Leprosy can be learned. She educates herself. With time. This time she gnaws. Flesh damage is tamed. The image is tamed. Just break the mirrors. Or gouge out your eyes. But the dread of a mother…The light of day has left the place. How she would like so much, too, to leave the light in her turn. Soon the moon will enter as one enters misery. The kid left behind a mango and an onion. You little scoundrel! Dirty vermin! He wants to show her that she’s no longer good for anything! Not even able to feed herself. Let him die. Outside. Either way, he’ll be better off there than in a home. He is old enough to mingle with the living. She bites into the juicy onion. She wipes her bleary eyes with a flap of her robe. When the moon has risen, she will lap up some water from the river. She will bathe naked. And insult God.

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