The Bookseller' ' by Mark Pryor

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The Bookseller
280 pages; Seventh Street Books
Hugo Marston is an ex-CIA agent who's taken a mellow job running security for the US embassy in Paris. Mellow, that is, until his friend Max, the owner of a bookstall on the banks of the Seine, is kidnapped right in front of him. Both the French authorities and Hugo's boss, the Ambassador, warn him to stay away from investigating Max's disappearance—but Hugo's spy instincts, long-dormant, awaken, and he starts looking into the abduction. As he investigates Max's complicated past, more bouquinistes disappear, and Hugo realizes that his friend's life is not the only thing at stake. But who would want to harm a bunch of people who make their living selling books? Accompanied in his search by his wise-guy CIA buddy Tom and by Claudia, a brilliant and alluring Parisian journalist, Hugo delves into the underworld that lurks behind sidewalk cafes and Haussman's exquisite architecture in order to find out. Pryor doesn't pull punches when it comes to the ugliness that exists alongside the beauty of Paris. As a result, in place of a story in which everything is sunshine and Amélie and macarons, he gives us something else: a tale of a city that's gritty, utterly real and filled with surprises both horrifying and tender. Much like a baguette, this fabulous story is crusty on the outside, sweet on the inside, and once you've had a bit, you can't wait for more.
— Nathalie Gorman