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by David Barrie
John Law Media, June 2009
320 pages
7.99 GBP
ISBN: 0956251803

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Franck Guerin is in disgrace. A security services op has gone seriously wrong, and he's been shunted out of the way into routine police work. But his first case is anything but an easy ride …

A gorgeous young model has been found dead in a Paris hotel. A photo of the murder scene is splashed all over the front cover of France's main scandal sheet – and the photo is delivered to the magazine even before the police find the body. The body count rises, and all Guerin has to help his enquiry is some chic but eye-wateringly expensive lingerie adorning the corpses.

Guerin's case takes him into the worlds of fashion and of glossy magazines where perfection and image are all-important. And he has plenty of glamorous women wanting to help him in his investigations.

Interestingly, aside from Franck and his courtly boss Yves, most of the action is dominated by strong female characters in the shape of business guru Sylvie Thomas, enigmatic magazine editor Maryam Sehati and university lecturer Anne Subrini.

WASP-WAISTED is a debut novel brought to us from a new British publisher, and it's a highly encouraging start for both author and company. David Barrie's a highly competent story teller who evokes the atmosphere and streets of Paris. His prose is sharp, his plotting tight and he uses the backdrop of France's capital city to excellent effect. No matter how many bodies are piling up, Guerin always has time for lunch in a chic café!

Guerin is a touch lightweight as a fully-rounded character as yet, although Barrie hints at an eventful past in the security services which is nowhere near resolved. It leaves the way open very conveniently for both a prequel and a sequel – and on this evidence both or either would be well worth a look.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, July 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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