Friday, December 09, 2011

JACQUOT & THE FIFTEEN by Martin O'Brien (2007) Headline, 532 pages

Set in France, Martin O'Brien's JACQUOT books are as much clever crime fiction as they are brilliant armchair travel through Paris, Provence and the Cote d'Azur.

At the outset, Chief Inspector Daniel Jacquot is just one of the boys at a reunion bash for his fellow rugby teammates hosted by their billionaire coach Pierre Dombasle at his opulent residence in the South of France. When one of the middle-aged lads appears to have committed suicide in the stables, however, Jacquot switches immediately into investigative mode, not trusting the casual attitude of the local constabulary.

There are soon other suspicious deaths as well: in a sex club, on a curving stretch of road, and in the comfort of a home. The coincidence is too much for Jacquot and he becomes driven to solve each apparently linked crime.

O'Brien knows about pacing. He could teach a master class in it, to be sure. With each whip-smart plot turn and new assumption, he'll have you flipping the pages of JACQUOT & THE FIFTEEN right through to its surprising and satisfying end.

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