Monday, October 8, 2012

New Author, Great Book

Add a new thriller to your bookshelves.  The Bookseller is Mark Pryor’s debut novel, and it’s a cracker.  Library Journal has given it a starred review and named it “Debut Novel of the Month.”  Isn't that a great cover?

Here's the summary from Amazon:

Max—an elderly Paris bookstall owner—is abducted at gunpoint. His friend, Hugo Marston, head of security at the US embassy, looks on helplessly, powerless to do anything to stop the kidnapper. Marston launches a search, enlisting the help of semiretired CIA agent Tom Green. Their investigation reveals that Max was a Holocaust survivor and later became a Nazi hunter. Is his disappearance somehow tied to his grim history, or even to the mysterious old books he sold?

On the streets of Paris, tensions are rising as rival drug gangs engage in violent turf wars. Before long, other booksellers start to disappear, their bodies found floating in the Seine. Though the police are not interested in his opinion, Marston is convinced the hostilities have something to do with the murders of these bouquinistes.

Then he himself becomes a target of the unknown assassins.

Hugo is the sort of understated hero you often find in Alan Furst’s work, with perhaps a bit more grit given his ranching background in Texas and his work as head of security at the American Embassy in Paris.  Hugo is an engaging character, urbane and polished, but also possessing a Texan’s independent streak and a dogged determination to solve the mystery of his friend Max’s disappearance.  There are plenty of red herrings to lead you astray in this very fine and fast-paced debut.  Pryor excels at creating memorable characters; even those who make the briefest of appearances are fully realized.  I particularly like Tom, the semiretired CIA agent.  With his fondness for the bottle and his foul mouth, he makes a great foil for Hugo. 

Let’s see, have I missed anything?  Oh, yes.  There are Nazi hunters and Nazi collaborators, a sexy reporter who may or may not be playing Hugo, an aristocratic bibliophile, and gunplay.  Not enough for you yet?  Add some dazzling descriptions of Paris in winter and a peek into the history of the booksellers who inhabit the stalls along the Seine, and you’ve got an appealing and exciting new thriller to read.  I’m already looking forward to Hugo’s next adventure and hoping there will be many more.  

Mark is an assistant district attorney with the Travis County District Attorney's Office, in Austin, Texas. He is the creator of the true-crime blog DAConfidential. He has appeared on CBS News's 48 Hours and Discovery Channel's Discovery ID: Cold Blood.  Come back on Wednesday when the author graciously consents to answer a few questions for us.


  1. Ahh, crap. Another to add to the shelves. Carol -- you're killing me! my meager catholic university salary is not conducive to my reading addiction and you going and making awesome recommendations!

  2. Adding to the list is half the pleasure!

  3. Sounds like one I would like - books, mystery, Paris, how can I pass it up? I'm thinking I need to spend a month in Paris, well more likely a month reading books set in Paris,since I doubt I'll actually make it there in real life in the near future.