Sunday, November 19, 2017

Mark Pryor, The Crypt Thief

Mark Pryor, The Crypt Thief
Seventh Street Books © 2013 Mark Pryor
ISBN 978-1-61614-785-5

As a general rule, I’m not a fan of nutcase serial killer books; on the other hand, I have truly enjoyed the Hugo Marston series by Mark Pryor (of which this is the third I have read).  So which of these attitudes won out?

Well, Pryor clearly loves Paris and he does an excellent job of making you feel you are in Paris.  (I have included a photo of one of the riverboats on the Seine,; such a houseboat plays a role in the story.  The continuing characters, starting with Marston, are well-conceived and people I, for one, want to spend time with. 

In this entry in the series, two young tourists are found murdered ((one of the dead is the son of a US Senator who was about to start a job in the US Embassy, where Marston is head of security near Jim Morrison’s tomb in the Pere Lachaise cemetery), and there are indications that the killer was in the cemetery for a purpose that he was unable to complete.  So the police, with Marston’s cooperation and assistance arrange in-depth surveillance of the cemetery, and, as it turns out, he returns.  And somehow escapes.  (The intelligent reader is likely to get to the how of the escape pretty quickly.)

The situation is exacerbated by the Senator’s insistence that the perpetrator is a Muslim terrorist, so the effort to catch the murderer is potentially being disrupted by a search for the terrorist.  Marston hasn’t bought the terrorist angle, so he continues to pursue the crazed serial path while his friend and ex-CIA agent (still doing some jobs for them) Tom Green is involved in the search for the terrorist.

The book is quite readable (I read it in about 6 hours of one day), and the narrative is compelling.  The risks to everyone involved are clear, and Pryor does an excellent job of making us aware (often uncomfortably) or our surroundings.  So I am, in a way, glad to have read it.  But the crazed serial killer aspect (and, believe me, this killer is crazed) made it a difficult read for me.  There are at least 4 more books in the series, and I sincerely hope that we do not run into another nutcase serial killer.

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