Only the Animals (“Seules les bêtes”), by Colin Niel

1 min

Only the Animals (“Seules les bêtes”), by Colin Niel

In Only the Animals, five protagonists present their own versions of a woman's disappearance. An electrifying story set in the isolated Massif Central area.


© Le Rouergue

An award-winning author

Between 2012 and 2015, Colin Niel published the three volumes of a noir trilogy set in Guiana, where he worked on the creation of the Amazonian National Park for several years: Cardboard Hammocks (“Les Hamacs de carton”), What Stays in the Forest (“Ce qui reste en forêt”) and Obia.


These three novels have received several awards, including the Black Anchors prize, the Sang pour Sang Thriller prize, the Michel Lebrun Thriller prize and the 20 Minutes Quais Thriller prize. In 2017 Only the Animals was published, which won the 2017 Landerneau Thriller prize.


A captivating novel

In Only the Animals, a choral noir novel, five voices recount in turn the disappearance of a woman on a limestone causse in the Massif Central, a vast and isolated place where it is easy to hide a person, living or dead. Each of the protagonists is intimately linked to the event and is revealed over the course of the novel, as dark secrets come to light.


Through a captivating story, Colin Niel describes a forgotten country where farmers live alone, abandoned by politicians. A chilling novel that author Colin Niel unfurls brilliantly, from beginning to end.


At the heart of loneliness

Inspired by the theme of loneliness, Colin Niel decided to focus his novel Only the Animals on the physical and psychological isolation of French farmers in the Massif Central. A choice which partially explains the title as, according to him, only animals do not suffer from loneliness... But it is also only the animals who know where the missing person is to be found.


For the purposes of his research, Colin Niel twice spent fifteen days to the Massif Central in order to immerse himself in the daily lives of the farmers and to hear their way of speaking. Speech thus takes an important place in the book: A very oral piece of writing, the language adds to the disturbing realism of the noir novel.



Beyond the Massif Central

Only the Animals transcends the borders of France, taking the reader on a journey from the bleak Massif Central to colourful West Africa through characters who recount their pasts and secrets.


The novel was recognized by a Thriller TV Series award for its potential for screen adaptation in 2017.


Only the Animals has aroused the interest of foreign publishers: It has already been translated into Spanish and will be published by Principal de los libros under the title Solo las bestias in 2018.


The Institut français and the project

Only the Animals are Left (“Seules les bêtes”, 2017) received the Polar en séries Prize in 2017.


This award, given by the French Society of Publishers, the Quais du Polar festival and the Institut français, recognises a mystery novel for its screen-adaptation potential each year.