Picardie, 1963. A truck drops a group of illegal workers by a deserted stretch of canal in the dead of night, desperate travellers in a pipeline, searching for a better life. Days later, one of them surfaces, stabbed to death. For Inspector Lucas Rocco, finding the victim's fellow travellers presents problems. Most Algerian immigrants are welcome, but trawling for any who aren't is a sensitive issue loaded with threats of civil unrest - something which terrifies his bosses in the Ministry. And when Rocco is ordered to stay away from one factory where he suspects illegals are employed, it goes against everything he knows.
Adrian Magson began writing short fiction and features for women's magazines, contributing over the years to publications in the UK, US, Scandinavia, Japan and Australia. As well as writing comedy material and stories for BBC radio, he also turned to writing crime thrillers, and was shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award. Since then he has gone on to have several crime thrillers published and is a regular contributor to Writing Magazine.
©2012 Adrian Magson (P)2012 Audible Ltd
"A stunningly atmospheric follow up to 'Death on the Marais'... the story moves at a cracking pace, with the tension mounting with every page, I couldn't read fast enough. A definite entry for your `not to be missed' list." (Mystery Women Reviews)
"You have to love Rocco... France's answer to Jack Reacher - tall, dark, broad and dedicated to right wrongs. Death on the Rive Nord - `c'est magnifique'!" (crimesquad.com Author of the Month)
I enjoyed the first Inspector Rocco novel. Sadly it seems to have been a one-off. I gave up on this one after a few chapters. It is quite simply dull - as dreary as the landscape in which Rocco finds himself. The North African villains are as convincing as the baddies in an early Bond movie. It's perhaps significant that Roger May is an excellent narrator of JIm Kelly's crime novels but here sounds uninvolved with what's going on.
"2nd book in Very Good Series!"
So this is the second book in what looks like it will be a series by Adrian Magson, about Inspector Lucas Rocco. Rocco is former military, and most recently has been working for the police in Paris, until an "initiative" sent more experienced people into less populated areas. This is how he got to be located in the tiny village of Poissons-Les-Marais in Picardie north of Paris. In the first book, he is struggling to get to know people, figure out whom he can trust, etc--even as he is immediately put to work on a challenging case.
In this book, he is a bit more settled, though still has an uneasy relationship with his superior officer, Massin. He is now presented with a case that is both dangerous and culturally sensitive, because it partially involves the human trafficking that is done between Northern Africa and France, and also mafia-like people. Both books are very good, though I liked the first one a *slight* bit better (felt this one had a little more violence than my comfort level would prefer). Both are action-packed, smoothly written, characters more developed.
The only difference that is truly noticeable is between narrators. Gordon Griffin read the first book--and I think his voice got imprinted on my mind in a way that hearing the difference with Roger May's narration was kind of startling. May is also an excellent narrator, and the only reason I gave him 4 stars is that his very British accent seems odd for a book that takes place in France. (That is possibly where Griffin did a better job). It looks like May will be the narrator going forward--and that's fine. He does a good job with various voices and inflection and timing--everything one hopes for in a good narrator. I just wish he could make the book sound more French and less British. Highly Recommend! Very good series.
"A change in narration, but not in writing"
The first few hours with this book took some getting used to. I had become so accustomed to Gordon Griffin's impeccable narration in the first book that the change to Roger May was startling. His narration is very good, but not exceptional. It took me a while to get the hang of it and to appreciate his contribution to the story. By the end, I was comfortable with it - though never awed.
Magson's series is turning out to be terrific with a ton of potential for many books to come. He has a way of holding something back for the future. There's a restrained sense of character introduction. You expect a new character to become a big part of the plot soon like it typically would in a mystery. He's not that obvious. His characters sometimes become part of the book's ensemble cast. You know eventually there will be a story there, but he holds back. Second, while the plot is always compelling, he saves a little back. That understated approach actually makes it more interesting. Third, there's this location appeal. I'm getting such a good feel for rural France in the early 1960s. America almost always dominates any discussion of that era. It's really interesting to get a glimpse of that memorable decade from an entirely different perspective.
This series has it all: great characters, good solid plots, an interesting look back to the past, a wonderful terroir and excellent narration. I hope Magson can write fast.
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