A Dead American in Paris by Seth Lynch Fahrenheit Press April 9th 2018
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.
This is a dark atmospheric novel set in the salubrious cafe’s and backstreets of Paris. Lynch wastes no time in setting the scene, throwing us straight into a murder scene and the introduction of Salazar, the main protagonist of the novel.
Having not read the Salazar, the first in the series, I was a little concerned that I might have needed some prior knowledge, and I think that may have helpful but it in no way affected my enjoyment of the novel.
Salazar himself, was a complex character, with a hint of a dark side, that he perhaps tried to keep hidden or maintain some form of control over. There was the lurking sense of violence just a fingers breath away in his encounters, that sometimes threatened to overwhelm and at times the mask slipped, and the control disappeared. I think if it wasn’t for his loyal girlfriend, Megan, and her influence Salazar would have ended up in far more scrapes than he actually did. There were hints of a past marred by a first world war spent in the trenches that haunted him, the murderous scenes he visited, reappearing in his nightmares. I admired Lynch’s grasp of this character, a character that fascinated and intrigued me.
If Lynch’s characterisation was good his sense of place and setting was even better. I could smell and feel the smoke filled rooms of the backstreet cafe’s and the grime of the streets. Murder scenes were graphically depicted, the smell of rotting corpses oozing from the pages, and one scene in particular was particularly vivid and nightmare inducing.
The plot itself is complex and Lynch is particularly good at making you think you’ve worked it all about before sending you off in another direction. It was certainly filled with great tension and drama and I particularly enjoyed Salazar’s interaction with Madam Fulton, a woman with a slightly unhinged personality, not immune to creating her own brand of high drama in the novel!
A Dead American In Paris was not just a crime novel, it also had a social conscience, perfectly depicting the anguish women faced over the agonising decision of unwanted pregnancies and the horrors of backstreet abortions. Where Salazar, was pretty black and white in his thoughts and opinions, I admired Lynch’s use of Salazar’s girlfriend Megan as the voice of reason, educating him of the complexities of both moral and emotional dilemmas many women faced at the time.
A Dead American In Paris was a captivating and atmospheric novel, pulling me in to a murky Parisienne underworld that I cannot wait to revisit.
Thank you to Fahrenheit Press for a copy of the novel to read and review and Damp Pebbles for the inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour
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.
Seth’s Social Media:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seth-Lynch/e/B00E7SZ3FS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1