Grangé, Jean-Christophe 1961–
Grangé, Jean-Christophe 1961–
PERSONAL: Born 1961, in Paris, France.
ADDRESSES: Agent—Éditions Albin Michel, ál'attention de Jean-Christophe Grangé, 22 rue Huyghens, Paris 75014, France.
CAREER: Writer, journalist, copywriter, and screenwriter; worked for newspapers and magazines, including National Geographic, Paris-Match, and Sunday Times; has worked as a script doctor; founder of L&G, a news agency.
AWARDS, HONORS: Reuters Prize, World Press Prize.
(With Christian de Rudder) Made in Space, Editions Syros-Alternatives (Paris, France), 1992.
Le vol des cigognes, Albin Michel (Paris, France), 1994, published as The Flight of the Storks, translated by Ian Monk, Harvill Press (London, England), 2000.
Les rivières pourpres, Albin Michel (Paris, France), 1998, published as Blood-Red Rivers, translated by Ian Monk, Harvill Press (London, England), 2000.
Le concile de pierre, Albin Michel (Paris, France), 2000, published as The Stone Council, translated by Ian Monk, Harvill Press (London, England), 2000.
L'empire des loups: roman, Albin Michel (Paris, France), 2003, published as The Empire of the Wolves: A Novel, translated by Ian Monk, Ecco (New York, NY), 2004.
Author of the novel, The Black Line, 2004.
Also author of the screenplay Vidocq, a co-production of RF2K, Studio Canal, TF1 Groupe, 2000.
Author's works have been translated into eighteen languages.
ADAPTATIONS: Blood-Red Rivers was filmed as The Crimson Rivers (Les rivières pourpres), Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment Video, 2001; L'empire des loups was filmed as The Empire of the Wolves, Columbia TriStar, 2005; Le concile de Pierre was filmed by UGC Images, 2006.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Movie adaptation of the cult series Vidocq, a fantasy thriller mixing history with the supernatural; two new novels.
SIDELIGHTS: Jean-Christophe Grangé is at the forefront of new French "Polar" writers (the French name for crime/detective fiction). Born in Paris, Grangé wrote for magazines worldwide before becoming an investigative reporter and setting up his own news agency. During his ten years as a journalist, research into the paranormal and a lengthy study on the nomads of Mongolia left lasting impressions on him, and he was determined to incorporate them into his books. While Grangé's first novel, The Flight of the Storks, published in 1994, was largely unnoticed, Blood-Red Rivers, published in 1998, became an international bestseller and later a film directed by Mathieu Kassovitz.
The plot of The Flight of the Storks follows the storks' incredible 12,000-mile annual migration from Northern Europe to Central Africa. When, one year, they do not return, wealthy Swiss ornithologist Max Boehm hires Louis Antioch, a young French academic, to make the journey tracing the flight of the storks in an attempt to solve the mystery of the birds' disappearance. Before Antioch can begin his trip, Boehm dies of a heart attack under suspicious circumstances. The police suspect murder, and diamond smuggling is involved. From there, the plot follows the storks' path through a Bulgarian Gypsy encampment to an Israeli Kibbutz and into the jungles of Central Africa. Soon after the book's publication, Grangé was contacted by the movie industry to write screen adaptations because of the novel's cinematic qualities.
In Blood-Red Rivers, a mutilated corpse is found wedged in a crevice on a rock face outside Guernon, a university town in the French Alps. Superintendent Pierre Niemans is sent from Paris to investigate. He is an ex-commando with a brilliant mind, but cursed with violent fits of temper. At the same time, another rogue cop, Karim Abdouf, who was brought up on the rough streets of Nanterre, is investigating the desecration of a child's grave in a local cemetery. When a third body is found, high up on a glacier, the paths of the two men cross. "Abdouf … takes a scientific approach to certain genetic clues, while the abrasive Niemans … dives into deep emotional waters," wrote Marilyn Stasio in the New York Times Book Review, referring to Grangé's charting of the separate investigative routes directing these unorthodox cops to Guernon. Nothing is what it seems. As Niemans says early on: "When a murder has been committed, you have to look at every surrounding detail as though it were a mirror … somewhere inside one of those mirrors, in a dead angle, the murderer is hiding." Ranti Williams, writing in the Times Literary Supplement, noted that "each corpse is first discovered by means of its reflection—in ice, in glass and in water … two-thirds of the way through the novel … each detective's case is a reflection of the other, and it is only when they finally come together that the 'dead angle' becomes apparent."
In The Stone Council, Grangé incorporates his passion for the nomads of Mongolia into a story that leaves the thriller genre and ventures into the fantastic. Grangé had traveled the Mongolian-Siberian border following an indigenous tribe, which was so isolated that it managed to escape the repression of both the Soviet and communist Chinese governments. Grangé was especially interested in the shamans and their ritual healing magic. The Stone Council begins when Diane Thiberge adopts a little boy in Thailand. Soon, there are attempts on the boy's life and encounters with the paranormal. As Diane follows the thread of circumstances that lead to the past, and to the Mongolian taiga, she begins to understand the Law of the Stone Council, the point of original combat where man, animals, and the universal spirit are one.
The Empire of the Wolves: A Novel, which was adapted as a motion picture, "has quite a bit to recommend it," commented Booklist reviewer Frank Sennett. Anna Heymes is a Parisian homemaker happily married to an administrator on the city's police force. Gradually, however, Anna's life of domestic bliss and work at a chocolate shop becomes less and less stable. Friends become strangers, and she finds haunting familiarity in the faces of strangers. She finds odd scars on her face and scalp that suggests radical cosmetic surgery, but she has no memory of any such procedures. While Anna ponders the mystery of her seeming amnesia, police detective Paul Nerteaux investigates the murders of three immigrant women who worked in the city's Turkish quarter. At first suspecting a serial killer, Nerteaux and his colleague Jean-Louis Schiller soon realize that the culprit is no clumsy serial killer but a calculating assassin from the Turkish mafia. As the two storylines intertwine, Anna discovers that her loss of memory also blinds her to the presence of old enemies, and the investigating policemen become involved in dangerous espionage and murder plots. Critics have noted that the book's plot is farfetched, and requires considerable suspension of disbelief. However, reviewers such as Matthew L. Moffett, writing in the School Library Journal, observed that the "glitzy plotting" and "breakneck pace" allow little opportunity for readers to get distracted by finer details. Sennett called Grangé "a slick stylist with a gift for overamped metaphors." Moffett concluded that the novel is "a fun and exciting ride not to be missed."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Grangé, Jean-Christophe, Blood-Red Rivers, translated by Ian Monk, Harvill Press (London, England), 2000.
Booklist, December 15, 2004, Frank Sennett, review of The Empire of the Wolves: A Novel, p. 711.
French Review, May, 2000, Kathryn M. Bulver, review of Les rivières pourpres, p. 1260.
New Statesman, October 11, 1999, Sebastian Shakespeare, review of Blood-Red Rivers, p. 57.
New York Times Book Review, September 24, 2000, Marilyn Stasio, review of Blood-Red Rivers, p. 29.
School Library Journal, July, 2005, Matthew L. Moffett, review of The Empire of the Wolves, p. 131.
Times Literary Supplement, October 8, 1999, Ranti Williams, review of Blood-Red Rivers, p. 24; September 29, 2000, Hugh MacPherson, review of The Flight of the Storks, p. 26.
Variety, April 18, 2005, Lisa Nesselson, movie review of The Empire of the Wolves, p. 29.
Jean-Christophe Grangé's Home Page, http://www.jc-grange.com (March 25, 2006).