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Berlin, 1967: four members of the British rock band Pearl Harbor die at the same time but in separate locations. Inexplicably, the police conclude natural causes are to blame.
Brussels, 2010: A homeless man is hit by a car outside the Gare du Midi, leaving him with locked-in syndrome, able to communicate (sometimes) by blinking.
An Irish journalist's interest is piqued. How did the members of Pearl Harbor die, and how is this linked to the homeless man in Brussels?
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Back Up is a really enjoyable book, and whilst I wouldn’t quite call it a thriller, the part crime based mystery, part conspiracy theory, keeps you hooked until the very end. The book starts in 1967 with the story of a British Rock and Roll band, Pearl Harbour. The band get their big break in Berlin and end up in a recording studio hoping to make their very first single. After the recording it all goes horribly wrong as four of the band members die in different locations and different circumstances. The Police do not see any connection between the deaths and when they are all written off as accidents or suicide they conclude their investigations.
Jump forward to 2010 and a man who appears to be of no fixed abode ends up in a critical condition in hospital. He can neither move nor speak but on awakening from his coma, Dominique his physiotherapist, is determined to get to the bottom of who he is and where he has come from. The hospital name him X Midi until they can find his true identity.
Meanwhile a journalist, Michael Stern, picks up the story and is convinced that there is a connection between the deaths and that they are not a set of coincidental accidents as the police reports state. Michael puts his career on the line and starts an investigation with his own money which ultimately ends in his own demise.
Back up is written in short punchy chapters alternating between the voices of the rock band Pearl Harbour, the journalist Michael Stern, physiotherapist Dominique and X Midi himself. X Midi is the key to the whole story and as the pieces of the puzzle get found out little by little you begin to work out the riddle of the death of the band members and the politics behind it. Paul Colize’s excellent writing style keeps you drawn in to the story and continually wondering what the link between X Midi and Pearl Harbour is. A great book for any gender and with plenty of references to the music of the 1960’s it is a must if you are a fan of the era.
'A masterpiece.' * Michel Bussi, author of <i>After the Crash</i> * 'The rock-and-roll aesthetic of the plot kerrangs through the swift and exciting prose.' * <i>World Literature Today</i> * 'An impeccable tale of posthumous detection encompassing a loving look into the minutiae of rock and the atmosphere and background of some of its golden years. Add to that an exemplary mystery plot and you have a potent combination.' * <i>Crime Time</i> * 'Engrossing... This best-selling Belgian thriller, which was short-listed for two literary awards, is a treat for fans of dark mysteries and unreliable narrators.' * <i>Library Journal</i> * 'Intricate... Those interested in last century's European rock scene will be enthralled.' * <i>Publishers Weekly</i> * 'A vivid and clever story that takes us back to the musical scene swinging Sixties, but has a deeper plot at its heart. Highly recommended.' * <i>Promoting Crime</i> * 'A wonderful thriller... I have no qualms about recommending this book to anyone.' * <i>Historical Novel Society</i>, Editor's Choice * 'A dark and disturbing thriller.' * Mystery & Detective Agency *