Hugo Marston, head of security at the American Embassy in Paris, was chaffing at the mandatory vacation he had been forced to take when he witnessed the abduction at gunpoint of Max Koche, a book vendor. Max was a grumpily companionable elderly bouquiniste Hugo swapped stories with while occasionally purchasing an old or rare book. Hugo’s instincts go into overdrive when his report to the local law enforcement is shelved. Determined to locate Max, Hugo calls in some additional help in the form of one of his old buddies, retired CIA agent Tom Green. Local journalist Claudia Roux begins doing some digging as well and soon they discover Max was not the only bookseller to go missing or turn up dead. The clock is ticking as Hugo valiantly attempts to rescue Max, discovering along the way a fortune in books, an extensive crime ring, Nazi hunters and sympathizers, a dirty gendarme and maybe love.
First in what is sure to become a favorite series, this fast moving and smoothly paced thriller combines excellently drawn characters, an interesting setting and an intelligently constructed storyline. Filled with false leads, frustrating bureaucracy and friendship, Pryor delivers a satisfying mystery. With his sentimental attachment to his ex-wife and strong sense of right and wrong, Hugo makes a nice hero even when he’s bending the rules just a bit. Fans will most certainly be anxiously waiting for Hugo’s next adventures.