It starts with a story of strong friendships in a group of class nurses in Toulouse, the “Kings of Spades”. One of them, Emmanuel, evaporates. Should we be worried about it? Yes. He passed by the Hotel Ferdinand, with a sinister past. First thrill. Then something unusual happens in crime fiction; a disturbance, an oppressive feeling of confinement. This cinnabar red hotel, which makes its residents lose their minds, in the Pink City… There is The Shining and the Usher House down there.

Maxime Chattam too, since he is named there. And, of course, a police investigation, since we find corpses cut with sabers in the city – where the author lives. Finally, Elliot’s quest, launched on the trail of his missing friend, facing the curse and the power of attraction of this delirious hotel. As in The Enclave (2021), by the same Druart (which reappears in pocket format), the flirtation with the fantastic plays nicely with our nerves, quickly exposed to so many mysteries.

Killer Snippet: Her hilarity cascaded through the burgundy velvet gut. Mouth wide open, expelling groans of alienation, the robed man staggered along a maze of dark corridors, illuminated by lanterns hanging from the ceiling, which shed reddish cones over the geometric shapes of the room. carpet. The dim lighting fluctuated in places, was absent in others, immersing entire areas of the corridor in an eerie darkness. The place was deserted, the bedroom doors that lined the floor, closed, silent. Abandoned. Giggling uncontrollably, the man strode doubled over, his hand resting against the padded garnet walls. Tears welled up – joy or despair, he didn’t know. Hunched over as if a tread of madness encircled his shoulders, he staggered in the darkness, like a drunken sailor on the deck of a ship caught in a storm. The ground rocked; the walls moved away, approached. Disoriented, the man closed his eyes. Reopened them. Everything was blurry in his mind. Her blurred vision distorted the patterns that adorned the walls and carpet: diamonds rounded, lines rippled. The hallway as a whole seemed to contract, to relax, like a carpeted appendage that breathed. The belt of the bathrobe undone and the attributes flying briskly, he turned the corner of the corridor in the simplest device, then emerged in a new vice velvet. He froze for a moment, stunned, before chuckling again. Room 802. He was back where he started. He had walked for an indefinite amount of time without encountering a single emergency exit or a single stairwell, not even the elevators that had raised him to this dizzying height. The architect of this labyrinthine establishment was undoubtedly a madman. Or a genius. The walls were moving, the man in the bathrobe was sure of it now. And they were whispering, too. He could hear them, like a muffled whistle buzzing in his eardrums. The hotel was alive. He walked to his bedroom door, which was left open. Walked into bathroom bumping into furniture. Positioned himself in front of the large mirror set into the tiled wall. A shadow stood in place of its reflection, an oblong, shadowy figure, draped in loose, flowing black attire. Startled, he stared at her for a few seconds before her arm crossed the ice. She handed him a knife. As he grabbed it, he sat on the edge of the tub, smiling even wider. Laughing too much, his abs and the muscles of his face hurt. Could we die laughing? He brought the dagger under his left lobe and, without losing his mirth, drove the curved blade into the soft parts of his neck. With a sharp movement, he traced a red line to his other ear. A crimson ruff loomed over his chest, a scarlet curtain expelled by a second gaping, abject mouth, lips curling over bloody mire. The knife fell to the tiled floor. The man slumped against the tub, his head hitting the earthenware. His eyes took in the checkerboard floor, the dark shape watching him from inside the mirror, then settled on the burgundy, calligraphic, embroidered letters on the outer pocket of his bathrobe.HF.Hotel Ferdinand.

Consult our file: Le coin du polar