ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

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Friday, 30 August 2013

The Bookseller, by Mark Pryor...my book review for The Cephalopod Coffeehouse.

Hi there!

I've joined another regular bloghop, The Cephalopod  Coffeehouse, a bloggers' bookclub, brainchild of the Armchair Squid. As I read so many books, I'm always looking for somewhere to review them - other than the usual suspects, Amazon, Goodreads etc. Armchair Squid's bloghop is for reviews of your best recent read.

Here is the brief:

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.  Please join us:

Best! Definitely! Recently finished The Bookseller, by Mark Pryor, and was so sad to reach the end. It is the first in what is to be a series of Hugo Marston novels, so I have more to look forward to. 

Hugo Marston is the head of security at the US Embassy in Paris. One of his passions is book collecting, which leads to the main storyline of the novel.

Early in the story, Marston indulges himself by buying some first editions from his friend Max, an elderly bookstall owner, a bouquiniste, the owner of one of those green metal shops along the Seine. 


Shortly after Marston's purchase, Max is dragged from his bookstall at gunpoint. Marston tries to intercede, but Max is thrown into a boat. The police don't seem uninterested in investigating, so of course, this becomes Marston's mission.

Then other booksellers start to disappear. Working with his friend, former CIA agent, Tom Green, the team of two soon put together the pieces of a puzzle. There is a surprising answer to a quest which unearths Nazi collaborators, illegal immigrants and drugs -- why was Max a target? Or is someone just after a very valuable book? 

All the characters are well drawn, although Tom Green began to grate after awhile, but to be honest he is a great foil for Marston's slick heroism. There are plenty of red herrings in this plot, and no shortage of action to keep you turning the pages. And there's a sexy, wealthy reporter with great connections to provide the romantic element. 

Where Pryor really excels is in his depiction of Paris in winter. (Makes me all a'quiver for my next trip in December!) Pryor has written my type of book -- the setting is beautifully wrought -- a fully-fledged character. If you haven't already visited Paris, this book will have you lining up to buy your plane ticket. And if you've never seen Paris in winter, this will convince you to check her out.

I found The Bookseller an excellent escapist read -- it had it all for me -- Paris, books, history, intrigue, and a captivating main character and the requisite romance. It is an elegant debut novel for a fabulous new thriller writer -- intelligent, witty, suspenseful as all good thrillers should be. Hugo Marston is in the mould of Jack Reacher and Harry Bosch, another couple of my favourite action heroes. Marston is honourable, yet ruthless when he has to be -- a Texan in cowboy boots and a cashmere overcoat.

Can't wait for the second Hugo Marston novel.





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28 comments:

  1. Any title with the word 'book' immediately sounds interesting to me, and coupled with Paris and drama, this review has definitely convinced me to add it to my reading list.

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  2. Oh wow- Paris as the setting already draws me in, but a book seller besides? Love it. Thanks for the recommendation. I think this is going right on top of my TBR list!!

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  3. Oh this sounds just like my type of book - Paris, books, WWII, murder mystery and romance - what more could you want in a book. This is going on my TBR list.

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  4. Me too! Love the Paris setting and books, how could we not pick this up - great review! You do the author justice! On my list for sure!

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  5. It wasn't Paris that drew me in but "a Texan in cowboy boots and a cashmere coat." That touched me where I live, although most of the cowboys here wear denim. (smile) I was also intrigued by the comparison to Jack Reacher, who is one of my favorite fictional characters.

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  6. It wasn't Paris that drew me in but "a Texan in cowboy boots and a cashmere coat." That touched me where I live, although most of the cowboys here wear denim. (smile) I was also intrigued by the comparison to Jack Reacher, who is one of my favorite fictional characters.

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  7. Nothing better than finding a book you love so much you're sad to get to the end. This sounds really good and is going on my list. :)

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  8. Oooo! This sounds very intriguing! I like the idea of those booksellers disappearing. Welcome to the club!

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  9. Oooh! I like thrillers. What I don't like is time. Darn time. Why can't you just slow down or go on pause so I can get to this amazing thriller? Inconsiderate minute muncher... ;)

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  10. It's nice when the City is another character in the novel.

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  11. Mark, The Bookseller sounds amazing. Good Luck!

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  12. A book you're sad to finish - that's solid praise in itself.

    Can I safely assume this book was also part-research for you? I see a lot of similarities with your WEP snippet.

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    1. Yes it gave me ideas for my Paris story. Great research!

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    2. Wonderful! Whether for research or simply for the joy of it, I'm always glad to know that writers take the time to be readers, too. It seems such a shame when they don't.

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  13. Boots and a cashmere overcoat plus Paris. I'm in. :)

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  14. I think it's time for a thriller. This one sounds dee-lish. Thanks!!

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  15. This sounds like one terrific read. I'll put that on my every-growing TBR list. Lucky you: going to Paris in December. Hope you blog about it. I love Paris.

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  16. Isn't it delightful to find a great book and know it's the first in a series? Yay for you! I really enjoyed reading your review. Have a wonderful weekend. :-)

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  17. I agree with Lexa that it's great having more books in a series to look forward to. Excellent review Denise!

    Julie

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  18. Sounds like a good book. A series I have been raving about recently is the In Her Name books by Michael R. Hicks. They are fabulous sci fi/fantasy books and kept me pinned for all 8 books, still one more to go. Written in three sets of trilogies, each first book is free.

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  19. This sounded familiar because I recently read about a book set in Paris as well, that involves bookstalls on the Seine as well. Anyway, it sounds like a good read. I'll add it to my TBR :)

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  20. Sounds so great. And it is the first in the series too, so you can look forward to more of this greatness!

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  21. i like the sound of that! great review! paris, take me back in time!

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  22. I love the sound of this. Adding it to my TBR pile. :-)

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  23. Excellent review. THE BOOKSELLER has been on my TBR pile for a while now for all the reasons you mention. Paris, books, and history? How can I resist?

    Horror of horrors: I just checked my book spreadsheet and discovered I haven't read a book in two months. This is unheard of for me (proof: I have to keep a spreadsheet of the books I read). I always thought people who said they didn't have time to read were making excuses. Realizing the awful truth, I immediately began reading Kate Atkinson's CASE HISTORIES. Let's call it my current best read. :)

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    1. Glad you intend to read it V.R. Enjoy Kate!

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  24. The premise and setting sound interesting. I can just smell the old books and sense the intrigue from this.

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