Hugo Marston is the head of security at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. When he sees his friend Max, a bouquiniste, kidnapped at gunpoint, and the police are seemingly unwilling to investigate, Hugo has to take matters into his own hands. With the help of a beautiful reporter, an old buddy in the CIA, and eventually a wary police officer, Hugo will get embroiled in a mystery that spans the Holocaust, drug running and corruption. As more and more bouquinistes turn up dead, he rubs elbows with wealthy and important citizens, thugs, and becomes a target of violence himself as he searches for the truth of what happened to his friend and why.
I had a lot of fun reading this book. I got to learn a lot about bouquinistes (booksellers of old and rare books setup in carts along the Seine), about collaborators and resisters during the Holocaust, and to read about Paris in winter (seems like it’s always been spring or summer there in everything else I’ve ever read!). Now I really want to go to Paris to browse both sides of the Seine, preferably while eating some delectable pastry! Although I’m sure it would still be better to go in spring or summer!
The story moved along quickly, some of the characters could have been more well-developed (and therefore more sympathetic, liked, or at least hated) and I did figure out the ending before the end, but it was still a joy to get there! I do look forward to reading the next book in this series to see if there is growth in the character development and a little more surprise in the ending.
Title: The Bookseller: The First Hugo Marston Novel
Author: Mark Pryor
Publication: Seventh Street Books, October 2012