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by Cara Black
Soho Crime, March 2022
360 pages
ISBN: 1641290439

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The 20th installment of this long-running series opens with a small birthday party that Aimée Leduc is throwing for her three-year-old daughter, Chloe. But any semblance of family normality soon ends for Aimée. One of the guests, Boris Viard, has forgotten his birthday present in his office at the police laboratory. Shortly after, there's a bombing at the laboratory and Boris is found unconscious in the rubble.

Boris soon becomes a suspect in the bombing—Semtex, an explosive residue, has been found under his fingernails. Even Boris' partner, Michou, feels that Boris has been hiding a secret—although he believes the secret to be an affair.

Boris, in a coma, is unable to provide an explanation. And the investigating officer spits in Aimée's coffee—he's not going to easily believe anything she says. Aimée, however, never wavers in her belief that Boris is innocent—caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. With René, her business partner, and Saj, their part-time computer expert and hacker, they set out to unravel the crime. Someone has slipped Aimée a note that the bombing is the work of Action Directe, an old group of radicals that once carried out bombings in the 1980s. Are they back or is someone trying to divert Aimée's attention?

There are many threads in the book, some involving Aimée's late father, who was a police office, and her mother, who is once again out of the picture. There's a teenager who is a crucial witness to the bombing and whose life may be in danger. And then there's Aimée's relationship with Chloé's father, Melac, who is pressuring Aimée to move out to his farm in Brittany.

Aimée does solve the case, but some of those personal threads are left dangling, to be explored in the next book. As usual, author Cara Black gives us a Paris-infused mystery with many twists and turns, and just enough of a cliffhanger at the end to make sure we come back for the next book.

§ Lourdes Venard is an independent editor who divides her time between New York and Maui.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, April 2022

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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