Tag Archives: DS Automobiles

For Insiders Only – Joel Dicker

Yesterday I told you all about how DS Automobiles had worked with the author Joel Dicker on creating a special one off story for them and today I get to actually tell you all about it. In keeping with the idea of the whole campaign being about the visual story (which is also the story behind the story if you will) I will also share the first webisode and the first chapter too, before leaving you to go and find more. I feel very digital and thoroughly modern with all this going on. So, to the novella For Insiders Only


It is a normal quiet day on the banks of the river Seine with tourists checking the sites of Paris in it’s autumnal beauty when suddenly there is a commotion. It seems a man has been thrown or pushed into the river, though no one sees how this happened or if anyone was involved. Someone who becomes involved is Inspector Paul Roman of the First Judicial Police Division who is a great believer that it is the little, sometimes slightly quirky, cases that often need the most looking into. When it turns out that the man who ended up in the Seine, Frank Hord, had GHB in system and his colleague, Gut, has gone missing, Roman feels like this might be one of those more unusual cases. His suspicions seem to be correct when he receives a call from a fellow policeman from the edge of the Black Forest, who is working on a case with some similarities.

‘I received a note concerning a citizen of Stuttgart, drugged with GHB and who was the victim of an attempted murder last night,’ Weg said. ‘Is that correct?’
‘Yes, he was thrown in the Seine. He doesn’t remember anything.’
‘I’m wondering if it could be linked to a series of other suspicious deaths that have just occurred here in Stuttgart,’ said Weg. ‘A week ago, four men were found dead, drowned in a lake in the Black Forest. All showed signs of GHB in their blood. I’m the one handling the investigation. I thought they’d drowned, but now I’m wondering if they might have been murdered.’

Because it is a novella, I don’t want to give too much away but what I will say is that as you read on more and more twists and turns follow. There are masked ‘libertine’ festivals, secrets in the forest, questions of hidden sexual desires and much more as Roman, with Weg (which he finds most annoying) in tow, tries to solve the riddle of attempted murder and mass murder and if the two really are connected. I was gripped throughout and loved how such a modern story had such a dark little heart.

As I mentioned above, and indeed yesterday, what is so great (I think) about the campaign around For Insiders Only is that you get to see how each of the five chapters is crafted before you read them. You get to see what is inside the mind of the author, what inspires the incidents that unfolds and what ideas are spawned and never used. You get the story behind the story, press play to see it…

Because I am being so lovely and generous today, and filled with the remnants of all the joie de vivre from my trip to Paris last week, here is a link to the first chapter once you have watched the first webisode above. You can then pop to see the next one (and then all the other instalments ahead when they go live) by following the link here.

So what do you think? Are you a fan of the interactive story? Do you like the fact that you get to see the story behind the story? Should other companies be doing the same thing and giving us stories in new or unusual ways? All thoughts, as always, welcome.

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Popping to Paris to Meet Joel Dicker

One of the things that I love about doing this book blog is the people I have got to meet and the opportunities that I have got to participate in all because of a love and enthusiasm for books… well and writing about them a lot and having you lovely folk popping by. When I received an email a few weeks ago asking if I would like to go to Paris to meet Joel Dicker and talk about a book he had written for the car company DS, I promptly ignored it as I thought it was either a) meant for someone else b) a joke. However when another email came back less than a week later asking again I thought it really must be meant for me and so I emailed back and suddenly a few weeks later I am flying from Heathrow to Paris in all it’s autumn glory!


The wonder of literature, hey! So what on earth was all this actually about? Well, it turns out that DS (who are a car company formed by a merge of sorts between Peugeot and Citroen) have been looking at ways to get their brand out whilst also doing really different things with other creative types in all sorts of industries. They have been working with a fashion designer, an astrophysicist, and architect and now with a writer, the author Joel Dicker who many of you will know from the huge success that was The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair which came out here in the UK in 2014, to create a one off book and a whole mini series of webisodes around it.


I spoke to Joel about the whole process and interestingly, before any of you cynics start kicking off ha, he said that since the success of his writing (and by success he means millions of copies sold, though is too humble and polite – for he is charming – to say it) he has been made many offers by many different companies and often turns them down because he feels their heart or reasons behind the project might not be in the right place. However when DS approached him he knew fairly quickly that the project was for him because they wanted him to create a story and not just in the normal form. He would get to write the story, but he would also get to write, direct and star in a series of films about the writing process, something which he finds as fascinating as every other reader and lover of stories. Plus when he was younger he wanted to be a commercial/advertising executive, a director and a film star and here he got to do all three… and write a novella, which for an author who likes to write long novels was also a real challenge. Here it is…


I have read it and will talk to you all about it tomorrow. I will say it is set in the Black Forest and Paris, is brimming with murders and is completely gripping. You of course want to know how you can get your hands on a copy (like a wally I completely forgot to get a signed copy for one of you lucky lot, sorry) and the answer is that once the four websiodes have aired, each which give you a hint behind the chapter that you can then read on the DS Writer website here, which is a brilliant site and makes you feel part of the story/show/book. The catch? There is a tiny one, and that is that when the fifth film comes out the only way you can get to read the fifth chapter is by going to a DS showroom and test driving the new DS4, after which you can have a copy of the book and find out the secret of the mystery. Here is the trailer of it all, click and be hooked, I was…

Now before you cynics out there start rolling your eyes, hang fire. I think it is really incredible when big corporations do things with a cultural edge, and not just because they sent me on a trip to Paris, which admittedly was very lovely, but because authors, artists and culture need support both to create and also financially to live. As someone who works in the cultural and arts world, and who has also had lots of dealings with the publishing industry, I know how valuable these sort of relationships can be. After all DS could have simply just created some new generic fancy pants adverts couldn’t they? Instead they have worked with an author to create a story that tells itself on many different levels and gives the story behind the story it’s own space too, and I think that is quite brilliant. I would like to see many more big companies doing the same… Imagine all the stories that we readers would get and all the different ways those stories could be told? So go and have a gander and let me know what you think!

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