The Book Artist
by Mark Pryor
Seventh Street Books
As you could expect at the end of The Sorbonne Affair, Hugo Marston and his friend Tom were going to have to resolve a major issue related to their past: fifteen years earlier, as they were tracking burglars in Houston, they ended up wounding a guy, Cofer, and killing his brother. At the beginning of The Book Artist, Tom is in Amsterdam, where Cofer has been seen.
So this novel as two major centers: Amsterdam, and Paris, where Hugo, head security at the American Embassy, is asked to pick up an American artist at a hotel and bring her at the US Embassy Christmas party. Things do not turn well, as the artist is soon found murdered, and Hugo’s friend Claudia is arrested as the main suspect.
There’s a lot of suspense and surprising turns of events on both fronts.
I am aware the Cofer chapter had to be closed, but the fact to have two major centers at the beginning of the novel didn’t work for me as well as expected. Maybe it would have been better to deal with it separately, and to have that whole episode set as well in Paris, though using a different venue from the Père Lachaise cemetery, already used in The Crypt Thief.
The plot around the artist’s murder had a lot of satisfying red herrings.
I found the evocation of the Paris atmosphere not as successful as in the previous books in the series. However, I want to give Hugo another chance, and am looking forward to see where the spirit of adventure will lead him next.
There are not many French words used, but the one used page 264 comes with a grammatical grammar. Again, why authors and publishers do not ask natives to check up sentences in a foreign language??? It’s basic French grammar: possessive determiners agree with the object possessed, not with the owner of the object. So when talking about the cell the culprit will be lead to, it has to be sa cellule (not son cellule, because cellule is feminine: la cellule).
VERDICT: Satisfying suspenseful mystery, that would have been even better if focused on one plot only.
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In full compliance with FTC Guidelines, I received this book free of charge from the publisher. I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.