|Tom Mitcheltree: Blink of an Eye|
Intrigue Press (Hardcover), ISBN 1-890768-53-7
In a dark alley in Boston, a cop and an armed teenager confront each other. The teenager moves suddenly, and in a flash of gunfire, he lies dead on the pavement. In the blink of an eye, everything changes for both man and boy.
Several years later the cop, Grant Reynolds, reports for his first day at work at the Legat Office in the American embassy in Paris. His activities in the years following the fateful event mirror those of many running from the past. "He was good, he moved up the ranks quickly, yet he never stayed put very long. He was rootless. When he left a place, he left it for good." Now he finds himself a civil servant working for the Foreign Service, but before he can make himself comfortable in his new office, reports of a double murder come across his desk.
The victims are the granddaughter of a billionaire golfing friend of the President of the United States and the son of a Bolivian diplomat. The description of the murderer's method immediately reminds Reynolds of a mysterious killer-for-hire called the Assassin. Reynolds and his office associate, Jill St. Claire, form a team to discover the motive behind the murders and to track down the elusive hit man.
A break in the case comes with the discovery of yet another victim murdered with the Assassin's distinctive pattern. This time the victim's background leads the investigators to the doorstep of Euro-Arts, an exclusive and secretive source of world masterpieces and the contractor for astonishingly authentic reproductions, which were sold as copies but at fantastic prices. Internet research on Euro-Arts leads Reynolds to suspect some link between the murders and the company. Connecting the dots proves difficult and dangerous to both Reynolds and his teammate.
Mitcheltree writes an absorbing story. Paris, for which he possesses an obvious fondness, provides a fine backdrop for this sophisticated crime novel. Grant Reynolds, despite struggles with his past, makes an urbane protagonist blessed with common sense, intelligence and enough toughness to take him through the most difficult of situations. Jill St. Claire proves his equal in every category. They make an attractive, but temporary, team. The Assassin possesses the requisite nastiness.
Yet I finished the book feeling a bit unsatisfied. The anticlimactic revelation of the villain behind the villain no doubt contributed to the minor disappointment; nevertheless, the book certainly falls into the recommended reading category.
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