Alejandro's Lie


Fiction - Drama
296 Pages
Reviewed on 08/26/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A full-time Belgian/Flemish author, Laerhoven published 43 books in Holland and Belgium. Some of his literary work is published in French, English, German, Slovenian, Italian, Polish, and Russian. Four-time finalist of the Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Mystery Novel of the Year with the novels "Djinn", "The Finger of God", "Return to Hiroshima", and "The Firehand Files". Winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize for "Baudelaire's Revenge," which also won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category "mystery/suspense".In 2018, Crime Wave Press published "Return to Hiroshima", after "Baudelaire's Revenge" his second novel in English translation. His collection of short stories "Dangerous Obsessions," first published by The Anaphora Literary Press in the USA in 2015, was hailed as "best short story collection of 2015" by the San Diego Book Review. The collection is translated in Italian, (Brazilian) Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. In 2018, The Anaphora Literary Press published "Heart Fever," a second collection of short stories. "Heart Fever," written in English by the author, is a finalist in the Silver Falchion 2018 Award in the category"short stories collections". Laerhoven is the only non-American finalist of the Awards. The quality English book site Murder, Mayhem & More chose "Return to Hiroshima" as one of the ten best international crime books of 2018. In August 2021, Next Chapter published a third novel in English: "Alejandro's Lie," set in a fictitious Latin-American dictatorship.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

Set in a fictional South American country with a corrupt government that dictates the destiny of its citizenry, Alejandro's Lie by Bob Van Laerhoven is one of those rare and entrancing stories that is a little self-contained but offers depth and redemption. The protagonist, Alejandro Juron, debases himself as a self-confessed cringing vermin after betraying his friend and musical partner Victor Perez who was executed by the junta. After doing time in a prison called The Last Supper, he is released into a society that doesn’t seem to make any more sense to him. Despite the invitation from the resistance to join their crusade, he refuses. Indoctrination from the junta has drastically changed Alejandro. But this does not negate the festering guilt over his friend’s death that weighs heavily on his shoulders, and poor Alejandro will have to choose to fight or lose everything.

There is a poetic quality in Bob Van Laerhoven’s prose that makes the story sing, and its romantic angle reminds me of Love in the Time of Cholera. As for the turbulent backdrop of a system that corrodes the nation, what started out as detention and torture for Alejandro has expanded into a moral dilemma that largely affects not only him but also those people who have faith in him. The choice between freedom and oppression doesn’t come easily, and the antagonists are worth noting for this. Captain Astiz lives up to his reputation when he said that he wants to make sure the prisoners get to know themselves better. He reveals a ruthlessness that makes oppression work. I imagine that Alejandro’s Lie could spark controversy if Van Laerhoven had chosen a real country in which to set his tale. But even in its purely fictional setting, it doesn’t diminish the intensity of the message. It is a great read, one that pops up in your memory if asked to make a list of memorable stories you’ve read that are set in South America.