Exclusive, limited-time offer — Vital Links

After Looking to the Woods, Frédérique Molay has now produced a prequel to the Paris Homicide series. It's called Vital Links and for now it is only available for free. We will be selling it soon, so don't miss this chance to get the ebook. 

Vital Links by Frédérique Molay
A prequel to the Paris Homicide series

Vital_Links.jpg

A detective’s dogged quest for the truth reveals more than he bargained for. Newly appointed to lead a squad at the elite Paris Criminal Investigation Division, Nico Sirsky catches a challenging homicide case that plunges him into toxic police rivalries and harsh personal realizations, changing forever his approach to police work. This prequel to the award-winning Paris Homicide series by “the French Michael Connelly” transports readers to the French capital, where fighting crime is always personal. 

Paris Book Fair and Paperback

Frédérique Molay's story has something truly special. Her first published novel took France by storm when she won the Prix du Quai des Orfèvre—this is The 7th Woman, which we were so very proud to count among our first titles. She then wrote Crossing the Line and The City of Blood. However, after that, for reasons beyond her control and related to the occasionally obscure world of publishing, she lost her French publisher, and almost stopped writing altogether. 

I told her to send me the manuscript and, if nothing else, we would bring it out in English. We did better than that. It was published by Amazon Crossing in January in English—Looking to the Woods, and at the same time by Amazon Publishing Europe in French as—Copier n'est pas jouer.

As of yesterday, Copier n'est pas jouer is in paperback as well in France, published by City Editions. And Frédérique spent last weekend at the Paris Book Fair, as did both books.

 

The End of an Era? Paris Police Headquarters Moving

“Paris had its birth, as the reader knows, in that old island of the City which has the form of a cradle,” Victor Hugo wrote in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This very island in the center of the city has held a number of key institutions, including the Palais de Justice (central court house) and the Police Headquarters, at 36 Quai des Orfèvres, setting for all of the Paris Homicide mysteries (and before that for Simenon's Maigret mysteries). Both the courts and the police headquarters are being relocated in the near future, and according to an article in The Local, the center of Paris could be preparing for a makeover.  

The police headquarters is set to move to the 17th arrondissement on April 18th, 2017. According to a recent article in the satirical Canard enchaînée, the new buildings won't have a cafeteria until 2018, because it will share with the new Palais de Justice, which is slated for completion a year later. The temporary solution is a 2 km walk from the new building. As the French refer to cops as "poulets" (chickens), the paper couldn't resist a joke about the upcoming free-range chickens.

Here's a picture taken by Frédérique Molay (author of the Paris Homicide series) in the soon-to-be-old police headquarters.

Paris Police Headquarters

Pre-launch Paris Homicide Mystery Giveaway

We're getting very excited about the upcoming release of the new Paris Homicide mystery by Frédérique Molay. We translated it, and Amazon Publishing in both France and the US are publishing, with a simultaneous release in both countries on January 17! We can't wait.

In the mean time, check out this pre-launch giveaway on Goodreads. Don't miss your chance to win one of 100 ebooks.

Bastille Day Special — Authentic, Exciting Books Set in France

How are you celebrating the storming of the Bastille? I’d say the French national holiday calls for something French. So, if you can’t actually go to France for the parade on the Champs-Elysée or attend the dances and festivities traditionally held at fire stations across the country, you can pick up a book from Le French Book and be transported to France.

Here is our reading list for Bastille Day, with some deep discounts on these books set in France (mostly, at least), by French authors, translated for you. 

PARIS ART

  • The Collector by Anne-Laure Thièblemont (http://amzn.to/29xyd2A), a captivating dive into the little-known world of Paris art specialists and counterfeiters. After a father she never knew died, Marion Spicer finds herself facing the merciless microcosm of Paris art auctions and galleries, with its sharks, schemes, fences, traps, scams and attacks—a world where people will kill for a love of beauty. 

PARIS SUSPENSE

  • The Paris Lawyer by Sylvie Granotier (http://amzn.to/2a4Is0e), psychological suspense in the French capital. An ambitious rookie lawyer in Paris catches a case that sparks a determined search for the truth in her own life.

DARKNESS IN THE CITY OF LIGHT

Paris, the French capital, the City of Light, and the perfect setting for crime, and an actual character in Frédérique Molay’s award-winning Paris Homicide series.

  • The 7th Woman (http://amzn.to/29sRoj5) launches the series and gives the city a whole new dimension, with “ratcheting tension” and suspense. Terror stalks Paris. Will the team of elite crime fighters prevail?

FRENCH SPIES NOT FRENCH FRIES

  • The Rare Earth Exchange by Bernard Besson (http://amzn.to/29xKDaU), a chilling financial espionage novel and an unsettling look at a post-Panama Papers world. A team of freelance operatives gets caught up in a web of corruption and cyberterrorism in a struggle to control rare minerals key to today’s technology. “As subtle as a chess game, and as explosive as today's headlines.”

FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE AND GOURMET ATTITUDE

Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen’s Winemaker Detective series (http://amzn.to/29xAkUh) is a celebration of France combining enticing mysteries, mouthwatering accounts of food and wine along with authentic descriptions of French countryside. A vacation with quirky characters and winetasting, British-like mysteries with a French flair.

  • The Winemaker Detective: An Omnibus (http://amzn.to/29xAYkr) is a fine introduction to this series, with three titles in one. 
  • Late Harvest Havoc (http://amzn.to/29AJKBu). Disaster strikes the vineyards in Alsace. Vintners are tense and old grudges surface. The Winemaker Detective's reputation is on the line as he must find the cause before the late harvest starts.
  • Tainted Tokay (http://amzn.to/29Ktgtc). The Winemaker Detective encounters deceit and deception in Old World Europe. 

EUROPEAN ACTION AND ADVENTURE

The Consortium thriller series (http://amzn.to/29DR9Be) by David Khara offers a roller-coaster ride that dips into the history of World War II, then races through a modern-day loop-to-loop of action and humor. What impact could the folly of World War II—death camps, medical manipulation and chemical warfare—still have today?

  • The Bleiberg Project
  • The Shiro Project
  • The Morgenstern Project

 

  • Shadow Ritual (http://amzn.to/29xAvPx) by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne. The series has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Douglas Preston calls it “Phenomenal.” Shadow Ritual has ritual murders, ancient enemies and a powerful secret, making an electrifying thriller about the rise of extremism. 

AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FRENCH FLAVOR

  • White Leopard by Laurent Guillaume (http://amzn.to/29xAIC0). In addition to a starred Publishers Weekly review, Craig Johnson (of Longmire fame) called this “the real deal.” White Leopard is African noir with a renegade PI. An ordinary case turns out to be not so ordinary. The drug mule gets her throat slit. The French lawyer is too beautiful and too well-informed. The cocaine is too plentiful. The reader travels down the roads of Mali in the protagonist’s desperate search for truth.

The Secret to Writing Authentic Paris Police Procedurals

Frédérique Molay has reaped awards and praise for her Paris Homicide series. These mysteries set in Paris "blend suspense and authentic police procedure" says Paris mystery writer Cara Black. As we prepare the translation of the fourth book in the series, I went to Paris to see Frédérique in her current place of work—the French Senate. It seems part of her secret comes from leading a double life of writer and politician, which gives her a front-row and participative view of the French legislative system, and by extension the legal system.

Anne Trager and Frédérique Molay in Paris, at the French Senate.

Anne Trager and Frédérique Molay in Paris, at the French Senate.

Frédérique, who is now 47 and the mother of three grown children, graduated from the French grande écolé the Institut d'Études Politique and has a Master's degree in Business Administration. She began her career in politics and administration as chief of staff for a commission of the French National Assembly. She then worked for local government in Burgundy. In 1998 she ran in the European elections, and in 2001 was elected in Saône-et-Loire.

At the height of this brilliant political career, Molay was also writing crime novels and won France's prestigious crime fiction prize the Prix du Quai des Orfèvres for The 7th Woman, which went on to become an international bestseller. She took a break from politics to write Crossing the Line and The City of Blood two other titles in the Paris Homicide series.

In addition to being a knight in the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin—an order of wine lovers who promote Burgundy wines—from 2011 to 2013, Frédérique taught French in middle school, sharing her passion for writing with young teens.

The political virus never left her, however, and in June 2015, after finishing the French manuscript of Looking to the Woods , Frédérique returned to politics, working as chief of staff for a newly elected senator. She now splits her time between Paris and Chalon-sur-Saône, between police procedurals and politics.

Thanks to this double life, she gave me an inside tour of the French senate, where I saw Napoleon's throne in the gilded Salle des Conférence, visited the magnificent library with paintings by Eugène Delacroix, and took the back stairs to the Senate Chambers.

I'm wondering if she will ever write a Paris Homicide mystery that takes place in this palace the now houses the Senate—the Luxembourg Palace was built by Marie de Medici. 

 

 

Frédérique Molay Interviewed in The Big Thrill

Thanks to Azam Gill, The Big Thrill ran a long interview of Frédérique Molay this month, following the release of The City of Bloodwhich is part of the Paris Homicide series.

Find out if she is related to Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, what she thinks about the differences between French and American thrillers, transcending the limits of a French readership, French "Jack the Rippers," where she finds her inspiration to write these police procedurals set in France, and much more.

Temple of Meat?

The latest Paris Homicide mystery takes place for the most part in the vicinity of La Villette park and museum complex in the northeastern part of the city. The complex is built on what used to be the city's central slaughterhouses. One nickname for the area gave the name to the novel: The City of Blood. But, that's only looking at the dark side. If you go by a local restaurant's take on neighborhood history, it could have been called a "temple of meat." 

Of course, this being France and all, there is a food heritage related to that time in the city's history, and the city's butchers had their favorite cuts of meat. Today, if you see entrecôte la villette on a menu, it refers to a steak with chopped shallots, fried lightly in butter (lots of butter), served up on top of the meat, with a pinch of chopped parsley, a few drops of lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper.

In the novel, Sirsky and his team end up at a restaurant in the neighborhood and they eat meat, of course, rare, with fluffy fried potatoes. If you happen to be in Paris, you can find the chateaubriand des bidochards and a pavé des mandataires at a restaurant called Au Boeuf Couronne, at 188 Avenue Jean Jaurès in the nineteenth arrondissement—the "Temple of Meat in Paris," according to the website.

Mystery set in Paris

Unexpected Paris: La Villette

Translator Jeffrey Zuckerman on a lesser-known part of Paris: La Villette.

For most tourists, Paris is a very compact city—here the Eiffel Tower, there the Arc de Triomphe, a few blocks away the Louvre—and any expeditions to, say, Monet’s garden at Giverny are a good two hours away. But of course Paris is more complex than it would appear at first glance.

The new Paris Homicide mystery.

The new Paris Homicide mystery.

Le French Book asked me to translate a Parisian mystery novel—The City of Blood by Frédérique Molay—and when I read its first page, I realized we were in a part of Paris most people weren’t thinking of. A proper look at its map would show a large park within the city limits, to the north and the east: the Parc de la Villette. Once the site of Paris’s animal slaughterhouses (earning the place its nickname “The City of Blood”), it has in the past few decades been turned into a grassy meadow with beautiful buildings and sculptures.

This is the setting for The City of Blood’s murders, and watching Police Chief Nico Sirsky make his way through the park’s various corners reveals a deeply fascinating place. Many pictures of the Parc de la Villette feature the Géode, a large and mirrored Epcot-like geodesic dome that houses an IMAX theater. There are various themed gardens, including a perfectly maintained French church garden. Red architectural follies provide views over the entire park.

And there are large, grassy meadows. In the book’s opening pages, a trench is being excavated and the archaeologists at work come across a skeleton among the remains. The whole thing has unexpectedly been caught on national television, and so Nico’s forces have to scramble to stay ahead of the cameras and the crowds. It is a whole new terrain for the police forces, who usually find themselves in dark alleyways and narrow, eighteenth-century buildings.

The Parc de la Villette lost its nickname decades ago, but The City of Blood brings its history back, both in the research the police do and in the discoveries they make during their investigations. It may no longer be a slaughterhouse for animals, but Nico and his loyal force are working their hardest to make sure it doesn’t become a slaughterhouse for people. And the result is a riveting book, a perfect addition to the Paris Homicide series.

Frédérique Molay Talks About Choosing a Hero

Award-winning author Frédérique Molay of the Paris Homicide series—The City of Blood is now out in the world—talks about what inspired her main character Nico Sirsky at the blog Queen of All She Reads. She begins the post with this:

"When an author chooses a hero in a novel, it is hard to distinguish what in that character comes from the author’s own life and what comes from other sources. What I can say is that I wanted the main character in the Paris Homicide series to head up the Paris Criminal Investigation Division. That became clear to me the day I met the actual man in that position, who necessarily inspired the character."

Read the rest and enter the book giveaway here: Queen of All She Reads.

Many thanks to France Book Tours for setting up this tour.