“Frozen”: the thriller that throws fear!

The Pyrenees, a headless horse, a psychopath…. So many ingredients dispensed in “Glacé”, thriller shock by Bernard Minier published by XO in 2011. Sold in 450,000 copies, translated into 18 languages ​​and adapted into a television miniseries in 2017, this thriller is adapted this month through a copious one-shot of 120 pages… A new immersion in the very first investigation of Commander Servaz.

Recipient of the Polar Prize in Cognac in 2011, “Glacé” was the first thriller written by Bernard Minier, then 50 years old. He invented for his story the character of Martin Servaz: a commander of the judicial police exercising his functions in the South-West of France. Published by XO editions, the book was tragically cited in the Dupont de Ligonnès affair in April 2011: had the fivefold murderer been inspired by “Glacé” (the book having been filmed by a surveillance camera), before disappear between Nantes and Roquebrune-sur-Argens? Beyond this sad media echo, the work did a lot for the career of the former customs controller Minier, who never ceased from then on to brilliantly chain great editorial successes (“Le Cercle” in 2012, ” A fucking story” in 2015 or “La Chasse” in 2021). One of the top 10 most widely read authors in France, Bernard Minier (6e in 2021 according to the GfK/Le Figaro ranking) could not fail to interest other spheres…

Bernard Minier: a pocket collection at Pocket.

Visual of the press kit accompanying the TV series (2017).

In January 2017, “Glacé” was adapted on M6 in a six-episode TV series, notably featuring Charles Berling (Servaz), Julia Piaton (Captain Irène Ziegler) and Pascal Greggory (Julian Aloîs Hirtmann). The plot, of course, remains more or less unchanged: in the Pyrenees, near the tourist resort of Saint-Martin, the corpse of a headless horse is discovered 2,000 meters above sea level, at the top of a cable car. . The investigation is entrusted to captains Martin Servaz, of the SRPJ of Toulouse, and Irène Ziegler, of the national gendarmerie. Not far from there, the young psychiatrist Diane Berg begins psychotherapy sessions with Julian Hirtmann: a dangerous rapist and serial killer, arrested years earlier by Captain Servaz and now imprisoned in a high security prison. Problem: it’s Hirtmann’s DNA found on the horse’s body… this before a first murder is committed. Servaz, a hypochondriac and intuitive cop, is thus entrusted with the strangest investigation of his entire career. A thriller led by a master hand, knowing how to leave a part of mystery around the actions of one of the most diabolical criminals there is.

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The night and its demons (plates 1 to 3 – Philéas 2022).

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For this adaptation, screenwriter Philippe Thirault (“O’Boys”, “Le Vent des libertaires”, “Lewis et Clark”), and cartoonist Mig (the pen name of French author and animator David Laurent) have choose a solid one-shot of 120 pages, published by the young Philéas editions. Launched in 2021 by the Editis group and Jungle, the latter specialize in genre stories (thriller, thriller, fantastic, historical, etc.), choosing to adapt well-known works; all come from the catalogs of several publishing houses, such as those of Robert Laffont, Plon, Sonatine, Pocket, Fleuve Noir, Presses de la Cité, XO or Julliard. Thus, we will have seen in recent months the adaptations of the novels “Gravé dans le sable” (Michel Bussi), “Le Syndrome [E] (Frank Thilliez) or “The Island of the Forgotten” (Victoria Hislop).

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Dangerously yours (plates 4 and 5 – Philéas 2022).

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On the cover of “Glacé”, a snowy landscape seen from above, overwhelming with loneliness and putting the intriguing buildings of the asylum into perspective. The arrival in the foreground of a vehicle will seem to indicate the start of the story, if not that of the investigation. Because, even for a reader ignorant of the plot or of Bernard Minier, the clues are significant: starting with this trail of blood visible in the central aisle. The gate, half-open, suggests the passage of the vehicle (it is that of the psychiatrist Diane Berg, but we can ask the following question: is it an unmarked car?)… unless a murderer has already escaped from this enclosure, despite the presence of CCTV cameras. The facade – very 1970s – of the asylum catches the eye, occupying the background on the side of a steep mountain; further suggesting that the plot takes place at high altitude. Almost wondering if we are not witnessing a derivative version of “Shining” (Stephen King, 1977, and Stanley Kubrick, 1980), seeing Jack Nicholson sink into dementia within the Overlook Hotel. Helping decoration of the surrounding walls, we can also guess that the second plan includes an equestrian center, with its stalls and quarries. The reference to the game of chess (rooks and knights) questions ultimately on the actual resolution of the enigma, which requires Servaz to checkmate the murderer. “Icy” then, or cold as death: a legitimately gloomy and tormented atmosphere, not contradicted by the chromatographic choices rightly made – and with the help of watercolors – by Mig throughout this rather chilling work.

Philippe TOMBLAINE

“Iced” by Mig and Philippe Thirault, after Bernard Minier

Editions Philéas (€19.90) – EAN: 978-2491467081

Publication September 8, 2022

“Frozen”: the thriller that throws fear!