The first of Olivier Norek’s Banlieue trilogy is set in the notorious Seine-Sainte-Denis district, where Norek lives and where he has worked for the past 18 years as a police lieutenant. At the centre of The Lost and the Damned is Capitaine Victor Coste from the SDPJ 93 crime department, an uncomplicated man who just wants to get the job done, despite all the red tape and corruption. While dealing with a trio of bizarre murders and attempted murders, Coste unearths a scheme concocted by a now-retired colleague to cover up major incidents in order to better the district’s crime statistics. Norek’s writing is visceral, riveting and darkly humorous. The release of the second in the series, Turf Wars, is certainly something to look forward to in 2021.