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'A morally complex and beautifully written thriller with a delicately portrayed love story at its heart. A cut above' - Mail on Sunday
Autumn 1915. The First World War is raging across Europe. Woodrow Wilson has kept Americans out of the trenches, although that hasn't stopped young men and women from crossing the Atlantic to volunteer at the front. Christopher Marlowe 'Kit' Cobb, a Chicago reporter and undercover agent for the US government is in Paris when he meets an enigmatic nurse called Louise. Officially in the city for a story about American ambulance drivers, Cobb is grateful for the opportunity to get to know her but soon his intelligence handler, James Polk Trask, extends his mission. Parisians are meeting 'death by dynamite' in a new campaign of bombings, and the German-speaking Kit seems just the man to discover who is behind this - possibly a German operative who has infiltrated with the waves of refugees? And so begins a pursuit that will test Kit Cobb, in all his roles, to the very limits of his principles, wits and talents for survival.
Fleetly plotted and engaging with political and cultural issues that resonate deeply today, Paris in the Dark is a page-turning novel of unmistakable literary quality.
'Written in a hard-boiled, staccato style, Paris in the Dark is an intelligent, stylish thriller, and so atmospheric that the pages reek of Gitanes and coffee' - Antonia Senior, Times
'A thriller of great depth and intelligence' - Sunday Times
'As well as being a top thriller, Paris In The Dark oozes the atmosphere of the city at that time - you can almost smell the Gauloises, not to mention the tension and fear' - Sunday Sport
'A top historical espionage thriller, tautly plotted and told with humanity and realism. Rich characterisation and an authenticity that I found gripping from the first page to the last' - C J Carver, Author of Know Me Now (The Dan Forrester Series)
'Butler’s prose is a cut above. His descriptions of First World War Paris under the shadow of Zeppelins, and the threat of ground-based bombings, are exquisite – his storytelling admirable. A first-class literary thriller to lose yourself in and mourn when the last page is turned' - David Young, author of Stasi Child, Stasi Wolf and A Darker State
In Butler's flawed fifth outing for Christopher "Kit" Cobb (after 2014's The Empire of Night), the Chicago newspaperman who doubles as an American spy, investigates a series of seemingly random bombings in Paris in the autumn of 1915. Kit, who's in Paris to write a feature story on American ambulance drivers, suspects the culprits could be among the many refugees flooding into the city to avoid the war in the countryside. Slowly, however, his focus shifts to a different group of saboteurs: American terrorists seeking to coax the U.S. into the conflict. Though Butler effectively captures the social flavor and visuals of WWI-era Paris, thriller readers accustomed to logic and procedure will be frustrated. Kit, for instance, never visits the scene of a bombing or interviews witnesses, and the finale takes place in that old chestnut, the Catacombs, where the bombers have inexplicably holed up to build their next explosive device. Series fans who don't mind melodrama and the sometimes lead-footed tempo will be satisfied.