The Bookseller

booksellerThe Bookseller
Mark  Pryor
2013/ 280 pages  (1st in new Hugo Marston series)
read by Michael Prichard  10h 5m
rating:    A- /crime

The Bookseller by Mark  Pryor was released yesterday (6/25) and I was just ready for it.  It’s the first of a series starring Hugo Marston, an ex-FBI agent currently the head of security at the American Embassy in Paris.  Hugo is separated from his wife who is now living with her shrink.   Hugo is also a bibliophile and a bookstore habitué, so a friendship with a book stall owner named Max evolves. (Oh,  and Hugo packs a gun and wears cowboy boots – heh.)

One day, immediately after Hugo purchases an expensive book from Max, the bookseller is kidnapped right in front of Hugo’s eyes  – he just disappears.  Hugo tries to get the local police involved,  but then it seems that other witnesses tell different tales and the case is dropped.  So taking a vacation from work,  Hugo enlists the assistance of some  friends, Tom Green, a half-retired CIA agent,  and Claudia Roux,  a journalist.  The three of them   start checking things out (while Hugo and Claudia also check each other out)  only to find that years ago Max had been a Nazi hunter.

After a bit of investigation (breaking in) Hugo finds that Max’ s apartment has been ransacked – for the books.  He calls Claudia and that turns into an invitation to dinner – at her family mansion,   a talk with her father and a padded few dozen pages.  I suppose it could be interesting – at least, thanks to his diplomatic employment, Hugo knows which fork to use and how to behave in this kind of public.

There’s quite a lot of padding regarding the Paris sights, eateries, streets, etc. the French language.  Pryor showing off his expertise/research?  I don’t know –  it seems to work and Hugo certainly enjoys Paris.

And then other book stall owners start disappearing – or turning up dead.  And their bookstalls change hands very quickly.

The US Ambassador tells Hugo about the SBP, a labor organization which should be taking care of the booksellers issues –  Hugo is warned off the case.

Now comes the information about a foot-cutting gang,  the import street drugs and cop-killing in France.  What is this story getting into?

Bottom line – it works and I’ll probably be looking for the next in the series.

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