Inhuman Resources by Pierre Lemaitre reviewed

Inhuman Resources Book Cover Inhuman Resources
Pierre Lemaitre
MacLehose Press
September 6, 2018

Alain Delambre is a 57-year-old former HR executive, drained by four years of hopeless unemployment. All he is offered are small, demoralizing jobs. He has reached his very lowest ebb, and can see no way out. So when a major company finally invites him to an interview, Alain Delambre is ready to do anything, borrow money, shame his wife and his daughters and even participate in the ultimate recruitment test: a role-playing game that involves hostage-taking. Alain Delambre commits body and soul in this struggle to regain his dignity. But if he suddenly realised that the dice had been loaded against him from the start, his fury would be limitless. And what began as a role-play game could quickly become a bloodbath.

I’d read a couple of books by Pierre Lemaitre in his Verhœven series which I really enjoyed. I was pleased to be able to read something different from him. Inhuman Resources is about Alain Delambre, an approaching 60 ex HR manager. The only jobs he has had for the past 4 years have been low paid positions and there seems to be no way out of his dilemma. And then he has an interview for a job that he would really like. Is there a snag?

I found the characters in this good and often vivid. However I also found the book really quite slow for some considerable time. We learn a lot about his life, problems and family. I realise that the scene has to be set but for me there was too much description and too little action until almost halfway through.

The idea that the job interview that Alain hopes to be shortlisted for is a role playing hostage situation is interesting. The reality was fascinating and the book came alive for me at this point. It was far faster moving and twisted well. Some of the characters who had felt a little shadowy too came to the fore. In particular Lucie, his daughter, and Charles, an ex workmate became more prominent and interesting. Equally some of the people involved with the “job interview” were worthwhile and interesting.

Ultimately I feel that some of Inhuman Resources reads very well indeed. There is a powerful story with some decent characters in. However I did find it very slow at times too. I wouldn’t recommend it as a first book to try of Lemaitre’s however fans will probably be interested to read it. 3.5/5 overall for me.

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review