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by Mark Pryor
Seventh Street Books, February 2019
268 pages
ISBN: 1633884880

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Several weeks after finishing Mark Pryor's excellent eighth Hugo Marston book, so many scenes are still vivid in my mind's eye. Such is the power of Pryor's descriptive language. The book centers on the murder of an artist whose medium is books, and the description of her art installations make me sad that I can't actually make a visit to a gallery to see them. As is true throughout the series, Paris locales come to life, but this time around a chase through Amsterdam transports the reader there as well.

While Hugo is busy in Paris attempting to identify the artist's killer while avoiding the ire of the local police, his long-standing friend and colleague, Tom, is in Amsterdam tracing a killer who has his sights set on Tom and Hugo. As Tom investigates, background information about both Tom and Hugo comes to light, providing context for readers new to the series and depth for those who have been following the series. Hugo's relationship with Claudia also undergoes scrutiny as he attempts to keep the local police from accepting her as the artist's murderer. As the head of U.S. embassy security in Paris, Hugo does not carry any weight in French investigations other than that based on his friendship with high ranking French law enforcement, so a very delicate balancing act is described as he attempts to work with French police on the ground.

Characterization is strong, as American-French connections continue to develop and Hugo attempts to work out snags in his relationships with both Tom and Claudia. Many characters are introduced throughout the book, and each is so clearly written that the reader never gets confused between them. The plot moves quickly, and I found myself wondering how Hugo could possibly be successful in his investigations given the evidence that seemed to be building. However, when the key is revealed, it makes perfect sense and brings a solid resolution.

Reading a Hugo Marston book always transports the reader to a fully realized location, usually the Paris that Pryor clearly loves. In THE BOOK ARTIST, there's the added pleasure for a bibliophile of visualizing book-based art. Each time I finish one of the books in the series, I am disappointed that I will have to wait to read the next. Pryor manages to give us a new book in the series nearly every year, but 2020 is still not soon enough for me!

Sharon Mensing, retired educational leader, lives, reads, and enjoys the outdoors in rural Wyoming.

Reviewed by Sharon Mensing, April 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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