I am delighted to be sharing “A Dead American In Paris” by Seth Lynch as part of the blog tour by Emma and Fahrenheit Press. My thanks to Emma for my spot on the tour and also Fahrenheit and the author for my e-copy of the book.
Arty Homebrook lived and died in a world of sleaze which stretched from Chicago to Paris but never beyond the gutter.
He’d been sleeping with Madame Fulton, which is why Harry Fulton promised to kill him. So far as the Paris Police are concerned it’s an open and shut case. Harry’s father has other ideas and hires Salazar to investigate.
As Salazar gets to grips with the case he’s dragged reluctantly into an unpleasant underworld of infidelity, blackmail, backstreet abortions and murder.
Salazar is far too inquisitive to walk away and far too stubborn to know what’s for the best. So he wakes up each hungover morning, blinks into the sunlight, and presses on until it’s his life on the line. Then he presses on some more, just for the hell of it.
The synopsis does a wonderful job of letting the reader know what they are letting themselves in for as regarding the content of the story. I do read this prior to accepting a book, but then as I read several books between accepting and actually reading I am not usually aware of what the book is about until I start to actually read it. I only read the synopsis after I have finished reading, it is at this point I can make my own decision as to whether it works or not. This is just the way I do things.
So going into this story “blind” so to speak, I was immediately drawn into the dark and atmospheric descriptions the author gives as I was plunged into 1930’s Paris with Salazar, or “Sal” as he is referred to. I was taken into the labyrinths that make up the back alleys, side streets and seedier cafe’s and living conditions. It is a dark and dangerous world as I followed Sal on his case. It looked at the political view of women and their rights, or I should say lack of rights regarding the choice of abortion at the time. I couldn’t help but think of the recent Ireland Referendum regarding this very subject and this made the timely read of this book very relevant to todays society. (Please not that I am not making a statement here only stating a relevant aspect.)
The plot itself took me a little while to get into as I was not able to just sit and read several chapters at once. For me, reading several chapters of a new book helps to cement the basics of the story. Work and other distractions kept me from reading more than a few chapters at a time initially. When I was able to sit and read a bigger chunk of the story I was then able to get a real feel for the characters, their personalities and the story itself really then opened itself up for me.
The settings and descriptions were brilliantly vivid and so atmospheric it gave me a very real sense of time and place. Sal the main character came across as a borderline alcoholic and insomniac who really does manage to put himself in the thick of it on more than one occasion as he follows slim leads and to find witnesses and clues.
This is a story that has a mean and moody backstreet feel, taking you into a world were people are only out for themselves and the money they can obtain from those less fortunate. A book that I did enjoy once I had the chance to really settle down with and immerse myself into. The author has a wonderful writing style and it appealed to me as a reader and allowed me to become lost in his literary world for a few hours.
This is a book I would recommend to readers who like a darker historical murder, crime and mystery read.
About the Author:
Born and brought up in the West of England, Seth has also lived in Carcassonne, Zurich and the Isle of Man.
With two daughters, his writing time is the period spent in cafés as the girls do gym, dance and drama lessons.
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