“Retiaire(s)”: DOA, the art of crime fiction to the millimeter

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A large seizure of cocaine made by French customs in Marseille, in August 2022. AFP PHOTO/FRENCH CUSTOMS “Rétiaire(s)”, by DOA, Gallimard, “Série noire”, 432 p., €19, digital €14. With Citizens Clandestines (2007), DOA made a sensational entry under the mythical banner of the “Black Series”. Big success, and the chance – “or bad luck, to see”, he writes in an afterword in the form of a making of – to attract production companies enticed by a hope for French television: to compete with HBO, then ” the “American channel specializing in addictive series. The model: “The Wire” Flanked by screenwriter Michaël Souhaité, DOA (for Dead on arrival, “dead on arrival”) is therefore working on a series inspired, among other things, by the gesture of the Hornec brothers, siblings of gangsters from Yenish origin at the head of the middle, in eastern Paris. Their model: The Wire, by David Simon, five seasons (2002-2008) on the heels of battered police officers in a nightmarish Baltimore, plagued by poverty and drug trafficking. A series celebrated on all sides, considered as a culmination but also as a matrix. “We could never have reached such a level, but it was our benchmark,” recalls DOA, interviewed by “Le Monde des livres”. He quickly became disenchanted: for this solitary, the immersion is tough. He discovers the vagaries of television production, between interminable silences, sudden bursts of acceleration and suggestions for reshuffles – one must please the contradictory demands of the sacrosanct panels of television viewers. The scenario finally joins the limbo of aborted TV projects. DOA then follows five novels, including the diptych Pukhtu, an epic fresco on the growing role of mercenaries in modern conflicts and globalized drug trafficking. Having become the boss of a genre that he helped to renew, showered with prizes, the Lyonnais matured, from an exile in Brussels, the idea of ​​tackling a piece of history. That of an SS officer erected as a model of a superman by the propaganda of the Reich, who will end up putting his – highly questionable – war skills at the service of Arab countries, the United States and, no doubt, Israel. But, wham, the pandemic is going through there, making the essential consultation of archives abroad impossible. Also Read (2016): Subscriber Only Don Winslow: “Mexican Drug Cartels and Organizations Like Daesh Have Similar Needs” This is where the discarded script resurfaces, which will be completely re-articulated – “I don’t I only kept 10% to 15%” – to end up with the novel Rétiaire(s). Winding, the story is put to the service of a plot punctuated by eight-cushion billiards, infernal pacts between thugs, police officers and specialized services, each more corrupt than the other, against a background of a growing influence of narcobanditry. As always in DOA’s work, documentation holds a special place, in a “veristic” approach: visits to penitentiary establishments, interviews with narcotics police, analysis of articles and books, online research or , for this book, hours of watching videos on TikTok, in order to appropriate new uses of the language. Of his encounters with “people on the other side”, on the other hand, nothing will be known. You have 56.13% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.

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