BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blog Tour Review of The Caves of Etretat by Matt Chatelain

Publisher: Matt Chatelain
Series: The Sirenne Saga #1
Release Date: December 11, 2012
Buying Links: Amazon Kindle     Amazon Paperback    Smashwords

Book Blurb (from goodreads):

Canadian bookstore owner Paul Sirenne is thrust into a quest for answers when his parents are found murdered, their bodies cut up into the letters H.N. A note sent before his father's murder drives Sirenne to seek out the roots of a long-forgotten family secret.

He heads to the town of Etretat, France, on the trail of a hundred year old mystery hidden in the pages of 'The Hollow Needle', by Maurice Leblanc. Together with Leblanc's great-granddaughter, Sirenne unearths puzzles, codes and historical mysteries, exposing a secret war against Adolf Hitler, for control of a cave fortress in Etretat's chalk cliffs.

'THE CAVES OF ETRETAT' is the first in a four-book epic adventure following Paul Sirenne, an average man unknowingly manipulated into becoming the key in the final phase of a complex conspiracy spanning millennia. Inextricably woven into history, the series re-writes everything we know in a non-stop rollercoaster of a ride where nothing is ever as it seems.

I returned to the desk chair, in the perfect place to think. I had always said that I was an armchair detective. I thought of my father training me to organize my thoughts, preparing me for a moment like this one... I realized with inescapable clarity, that the responsibility of this incredible secret was being placed directly into my hands. Why me? Why did they prepare all this, Leblanc, Lindon, Lupin? What were they doing and why was it so important that I return?...It was time to step up to the plate. I still didn't know why it was intended for me but I would no longer shy away from what I had to do. I would follow the Great Hunt through to the end, If this was to be my challenge in life, then so be it!

Reviewed by: Bea

Bea's Thoughts:
Paul Sirenne is a Canadian book shop owner; he's smart, enjoys puzzles, and though he's engaged in a few treasure hunts over the years, he's mostly a homebody. He's an ordinary guy, the guy next door,  who finds himself, over the course of the story, doing unusual, even extraordinary things; he even shocks himself a time or two. The story starts when his father and stepmother are murdered. He has no faith in the police and is self-sufficient, preferring to handle matters himself. He starts his own murder investigation, but it quickly turns into a literary hunt and a treasure hunt. He finds that the mystery has roots in France and goes back to World War I, and even further back. There are secrets upon secrets, wrapped inside of secrets. I was most of the way through the book before I really felt the urgency and importance of the secrets, and why so many people in the town of Etretat were willing to die to protect it. Chatelain makes intriguing use of Hitler and other historical figures, and weaves in historical facts, giving believability to the secrets and conspiracies that are the backbone of this book.

The dialogue occasionally was unrealistic; I would find myself thinking "people don't talk like that." The pacing is a mix of Paul reading, researching, or discussing the secret of the caves interspersed occasionally with some action, such as a car chase or breaking and entering. At times it was a bit slow, with a lot of dialogue. The story is a blend of procedural mystery and thriller, but it is light on the action. It also has a heavy dose of conspiracy theory, which was one of its attractions for me. At times, it reminded me a bit of Dan Brown's works, but with more character development, more plot, and, regrettably at times, less action. It's a somewhat cerebral mystery, which is a positive or a negative, depending on what you like in a story.

Though my attention faltered at times, I was drawn into the secrets and conspiracies and enjoyed watching Paul puzzle out answers and look for clues. If you enjoy conspiracies, treasure hunts and historical fact woven into stories, you should give this one a try. The story wraps up in this book, while also setting the stage for book two. You can easily read this without continuing and still have a satisfactory ending.

Matt will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. You can see his tour schedule here.

I received a PDF of this book from the blog tour company, Goddess Fish. 


  1. This sounds interesting, thanks for sharing it Bea.

  2. Thanks so much for your great review Bea. I appreciate all your comments.

  3. Informative and evenhanded's been an interesting tour!


  4. This sounds like a really good read.

  5. Thank you for your review. I do enjoy a story that encompasses conspiracies.



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