French actor Abdelhafid Metalsi, who rose to international fame with his role as Kader Cherif in the police drama series Cherif, has just published his first novel, entitled La colline à l’arbre seul (Lone Tree Hill). It is set in the 1970s and tells the story of five 10-year-old boys who collect old metal, carton and bottles to sell them to a scrap dealer and earn some money to go to the cinema. They have to deal with competitors like the gipsies and Momo the tramp.

Metalsi’s debut novel is dedicated to his parents. In an interview with Livreshebdo, the 51-year-old actor said: “My parents were farmers without land in Algeria. There wasn’t any school and they couldn’t learn to read or write. I’ll be eternally grateful to them for having succeeded in raising their eight children. For my father, his lack of education remained a wound.”

From captain in a successful police drama series to novelist: Cherif actor publishes his first novel.


Before rising to fame with Cherif, Metalsi had minor roles in several films and starred alongside Gérard Depardieu and Vincent Cassel in Mesrine and alongside Ronit Elkabetz in Les mains libres. In 2004, he was cast for Munich by Steven Spielberg in two scenes with Daniel Craig, Eric Bana and Mathieu Kassovitz. He also had a leading role in Un roman policier (2008) starring alongside Hiam Abbas. Metalsi’s film biography also includes Des hommes et des dieux, L’assaut, Michou d’Auber, Mauvaise foi directed by Roschdy Zem and La tigre e la neve directed by Roberto Benigni.

Up to 5.23 million viewers watched the police drama series Cherif from 2013 to 2019 in France. Captain Kader Cherif (Abdelhafid Metalsi) used unorthodox but highly successful methods to solve crimes and often referred to popular police and detective series of his childhood, like Starsky & Hutch, Kojak, Columbo or X-Files. The TV series was also broadcast in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Brazil and the US.


The transition from actor to novelist was a new chapter in Metalsi’s life. All of a sudden, he could break out of his high intensity set life. In an interview with VERTIGO Magazine, he said: “On the set of Cherif, all eyes were focused on me. I was under constant observation. As a novelist, I work on my own. I love being alone and it makes me feel good.”

Metalsi’s French debut novel, La colline à l’arbre seul, which was published by La Grenade, is available at bookstores in France. If you live abroad, you can order it online at Amazon or Fnac. Please note that the novel (print and Kindle) is only available in French. You can read the first page online.

The actor and author is currently writing his second and third novel.


Read our detailed review of Abdelhafid Metalsi’s first novel in our new article Le gosse qui croyait en Jésus et Superman.




In a video interview with Beur FM, Abdelhafid Metalsi talks about his first novel, La colline à l’arbre seul (Lone Tree Hill). It tells the story of a group of five kids, aged 10, who live in a working-class district in Reims, France. They love cinema, braised potatoes and cola, but they often have not a cent in their pockets. To quench their thirst for discovery, they excavate huge garbage bins, scavenging for pieces of metal, carton and consigned bottles they can sell to the local scrap dealer. And they have competition: the Gypsies and Momo the tramp.

Photos: Courtesy of Makingprod
Book cover: Courtesy of La Grenade

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