the environment at the heart of the plot

Nothing really predisposed Thierry Colombié to one day write a teen thriller about environmental crime. At first, his thing was rather drugs. Finally, more precisely, this doctor of economics, specializing in criminal economics, was particularly interested in the drug market, its financial power, its inextricable networks and its geopolitical dimension.

But I already wanted to write at that time, he completes I wanted to do great reporting. I had the opportunity to do this for the Geopolitical Observatory on Drugs (OGD), created in 1990 by Alain Labrousse. So I was able to go to different countries, producers or washers. Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Madagascar, Morocco… He travels the planet of drugs and collects information, for the OGD and for his own thesis.

The French and the belgian

When the OGD ceased its activities in 2000, due to lack of funds, the Ministry of the Interior commissioned Thierry to write an investigative report on organized crime. ” Surprisingly, there was no criminal analysis on the subject at the time. I met investigators from the SRPJ (Regional Judicial Police Service) of Marseille, who suggested that I work not on ongoing business, but on french connection. »

The french connectionname given by American police officers to the organization at the forefront of heroin trafficking between Marseilles and the United States, from the 1950s to the 1980s. A model of a criminal organization, so to speak…” I had access to all flagship files. Two generations of traffickers, pioneers who strongly inspired the South American cartels. I was able to meet some of these traffickers, the so-called “rows of cars”. I found out how they maximized profits, how they escaped repression. Sometimes I had the feeling of “going through the looking glass”, of becoming a freedman myself. »

He will delve further into the subject by writing a fictional biography of Francis the Belgian, often presented as the “godfather” of the Marseille milieu, assassinated in 2000 by a team of motorcycle assassins, in the 8th century.Y Paris district. ” Beyond the rumors, the legend, I used fiction to get as close as possible to reality, Thierry explains. It took me two years of work. »

From coca to elvers

But then how do you go from “white” to green, the color of the teen thriller series he authored? “ I have always been concerned about the environmental issue, ensures. Son of a farmer, I used to spread fertilizers and from a very young age I was influenced by the problem of pesticides. Later, in Colombia, he deeply shocked me by the terrible impact of coca cultivation on the environment, the trafficking of protected species upstream, then deforestation, and finally the use of chemicals for transformation into cocaine. At that time it was not my priority, but I knew that one day I would have the urge to address these issues. »

Thierry talks about the green mafias with General Jacques Diacono, then head of the Central Office for the fight against attacks on the environment and public health (OCLAESP), whom he met when the latter was in charge of the investigation section of Marseilles. He then plans to make a documentary series, but it is in a completely different form that this project will see the light of day. ” I was contacted by a publisher to write a series of teen thrillers with a focus on protecting biodiversity. He accepts the challenge. ” And writing a book in the first person, whose heroine is a 17-year-old girl, was really a real challenge for me! »

This heroine is called Klervi, both witness and guilty of an exciting investigation, both for her and for the reader. The novel begins with a scene inspired by news. It was in 2009, in the middle of summer. An inanimate rider and his dead horse, on a Breton beach. Prime Minister François Fillon disembarking. The media that get carried away. In question ? Green algae, although justice has ruled, more than ten years later, a dismissal in this case. ” Then I discovered this problem that echoed my youthful concerns. And I remember thinking at the time that it would be a great opening for a future novel! »

The first two volumes that make up the first season of the Polar Vert series – killer algae Y Eels under the rocks – are particularly interested in glass eels, the name given to eel fingerlings, a protected species whose trafficking makes organized crime groups happy. ” A very lucrative market, with relatively few serious penalties ultimately Thierry poses. He had discovered this traffic while working on the coca deal. Spanish fishermen transported drugs from Bilbao to Bayonne, and returned with warehouses full of pibales (name of glass eels in the south of France, editor’s note)taking the ETA a percentage, both outward and return. »

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A collaboration with OCLAESP

To imagine and document the plot, the novelist meets with poachers, wholesalers, but also with OCLAESP researchers. ” Thierry came to meet us at the office, says Petty Officer Denis. I wanted to write a fiction about environmental crimes, but I wanted to be as close to reality as possible. it is during a brainstorm the idea arose to turn the heroine into an undercover informant for the Bureau. He and I hit it off, and we continued to talk regularly as we wrote the novel about the glass eel trade, which I know well from working on various archives. The difficulty was to evoke our way of collaborating with informants without revealing everything. The fact that the story was told by Klervi, and not by the researcher, made it possible not to delve too deeply. I explained to him how it really happened, and Thierry idealized it! »

For OCLAESP, this series for teenagers was also an opportunity to make themselves known, especially among young audiences. ” It is the wish of General Sylvain Noyau, who heads OCLAESP, to communicate more about the Office’s role within the gendarmerie, Dennis continues. The fact that these novels are aimed at young people can also awaken vocations and allow us to recruit police officers who have an appetite for these environmental issues. »

The first volume of the second season of this fascinating series will be released in September, the second in February. ” It will happen this time in the Pyrenees, around the theme of bears, details the author. There we will find Klervi, this time in the civic service in the field of the environment. “Adventures, Thierry is not done showing his heroine green!

Annotate : The opinion of Julia, 14 years old: I Liked so much this book. The ecological aspect interested me, being very aware of the issue of respect for the environment. The plot is captivating and I quickly identified with Klervi, even though he is a bit older than me. The fact that she is committed to the ecological cause as the story progresses particularly pleased me. At the end of the first volume, I had only one wish: to know the rest! »


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