|Title:||The Crypt Thief|
|Published:||2013, Seventh Street Books|
|No. of Pages:||255|
|Cover Price:||$15.95 US|
The Crypt Thief is the second book in the Hugo Marston series by Mark Pryor. The story begins when two young people, one a senator’s son and the other a Pakistani girl, are murdered in the Père Lachaise cemetery while walking near Jim Morrison’s grave. When the senator arrives in Paris, he immediately begins meddling in the case and insisting that the murders are terrorist related. Hugo is sure they’re not, and believes the murders were carried out because the young people interrupted someone who was digging up a grave nearby and stealing the bones. The murderer leaves a scarab at the scene.
As the novel progresses, there are more murders, all very strange (the murderer actually finds girls with strange tattoos, kills them, and removes their tattoos), and more graves dug up. Hugo, who is a former FBI profiler, and now Head of Security for the US Embassy in Paris, must solve the puzzle as to why thisrmurderer is stealing bones and murdering women with distinctive tattoos. To appease the senator, he is also involved in bringing in the suspected terrorist that the senator insists is the one who murdered his son.
While Pryor’s first novel in the series, The Bookseller was a good read, this one is even better. The writing is concise and the reader gets to know Hugo a little better. There is a strong element of suspense from beginning to end, and Hugo and the other characters – Tom, Capitaine Garcia, and Claudia (introduced in the previous novel) – are in grave danger in several scenarios throughout. Pryor is able to tell the story so that the reader is aware of who the murderer is and isn’t, and part of the suspense is when Hugo is slow at figuring out what the clues mean and what the murderer is planning next.
One of the most charming things about this series is that it is set in Paris. Pryor weaves French words and phrases into the prose, and his descriptions of Paris are vivid enough that readers will feel that they are actually there.
Although Hugo is a likeable hero, excellent at his job, and very clever when it comes to solving crimes, his personal life remains a bit of a mystery. It would be nice if Pryor developed the character of Hugo a little more, adding more personal information or situations so that he would seem more real. Nevertheless, The Crypt Thief is one of those novels that is difficult to put down. This is a series with a European twist, and is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the mainstream American bestsellers that feature only graphic violence and murder to move the plot.
For those readers looking for an enjoyable thriller with plenty of suspense, The Crypt Thief is highly recommended. The plot is unique, and while the reader knows who the murderer is, his motives are surprising and fascinating. If you love Paris, love thrillers, and love good writing, this book is for you.
Special Thanks to Meghan Quinn of Seventh Street Books for supplying a review copy of this book.
This book may be purchased at Amazon: The Crypt Thief: A Hugo Marston Novel