Review: The Bones of Paris + Giveaway

Posted 3 September, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 20 Comments

The Bones of Paris
By: Laurie R. King
Format/Source: galley courtesy of Bantam Publishers via NetGalley & Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of the author as part of The Bones of Paris Book Tour

Paris, France: September 1929. For Harris Stuyvesant, the assignment is a private investigator’s dream—he’s getting paid to troll the cafés and bars of Montparnasse, looking for a pretty young woman. The American agent has a healthy appreciation for la vie de bohème, despite having worked for years at the U.S. Bureau of Investigation. The missing person in question is Philippa Crosby, a twenty-two year old from Boston who has been living in Paris, modeling and acting. Her family became alarmed when she stopped all communications, and Stuyvesant agreed to track her down. He wholly expects to find her in the arms of some up-and-coming artist, perhaps experimenting with the decadent lifestyle that is suddenly available on every rue and boulevard.

As Stuyvesant follows Philippa’s trail through the expatriate community of artists and writers, he finds that she is known to many of its famous—and infamous—inhabitants, from Shakespeare and Company’s Sylvia Beach to Ernest Hemingway to the Surrealist photographer Man Ray. But when the evidence leads Stuyvesant to the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre, his investigation takes a sharp, disturbing turn. At the Grand-Guignol, murder, insanity, and sexual perversion are all staged to shocking, brutal effect: depravity as art, savage human nature on stage.

Soon it becomes clear that one missing girl is a drop in the bucket. Here, amid the glittering lights of the cabarets, hides a monster whose artistic coup de grâce is to be rendered in blood. And Stuyvesant will have to descend into the darkest depths of perversion to find a killer . . . sifting through The Bones of Paris.

The premise of this novel sounds really interesting (a murder mystery set in the City of Lights? Haven’t read many mysteries set in the city) plus I’ve never read anything by this author but her bibliography is pretty extensive. I was fortunate to be approved of a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review as well as take part in a blog tour for this novel. This novel will be available on September 10th. Be sure to check out the end of this review for a chance to win a hardback copy of this novel! US only (sorry international followers!)

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

The novel pretty much grabbed my attention from the first page. The author does a wonderful job in bringing out the darker, more elusive side of Paris to life. There is a sense of danger lurking at every corner, a sense of perversion lurking just beneath the surface at those grungier parts of town. At the same time, the story gives a glimpse of what everyday life is like in the 1920s with the way that Harris goes about his investigation, looking into Pip’s life prior to her disappearance.

The novel is also a great reminder of how strange yet modern the 1920s were when it came to art and thought: questioning everything, approaching the definition art differently, testing the boundaries of those definitions, veering into the more macabre side of life. It really adds to the creep factor of the mystery and really starts unraveling as Harris digs deeper into his investigation.

The case itself was interesting; it’s perhaps one of those cases where, if the main character had just walked away when things got really weird, you wouldn’t have blamed him for it. Because it does get pretty creepy and dangerous and has you wondering who’s the culprit, who’s involved and to what extent. And it can get pretty gruesome at times (in relation to the whole macabre craze that was present in the subculture of the time). Elements from Harris’ past also spring up over the course of the novel; you don’t have to have read the first novel in the Harris Stuyvesant series to know what his backstory is all about as the narrative brings you up to speed quite nicely.

There’s perhaps one small aspect of the novel that’s a little out there regarding one of the characters (though rather in keeping with the atmosphere of the story given its perchance for the darker aspects of human nature) but otherwise The Bones of Paris is a very riveting read. I highly recommend it to readers of mystery novels, historical fiction and stories set in Paris.

Rating: ★★★★☆

You can pick up a copy of the novel through: / Barnes & Noble / Google / iBookstore / IndieBound

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of ten Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, and the acclaimed novels A Darker Place, Folly, Keeping Watch, and Touchstone. She lives in Northern California where she is currently at work on her next novel.

official website / @ Facebook / @ Twitter

Now that you’ve read my review of the novel, here’s the giveaway for a chance to win a hardback copy! Please fill out the following Rafflecopter below to enter; US Residents only (sorry international followers!). Contest closes on September 10th at 11:59 PM EST. Five (5) winners will be drawn and contacted the following day. If you have any questions (or if there’s an issue with the Rafflecopter), feel free to comment below or email me.

Bonne chance!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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20 Responses to “Review: The Bones of Paris + Giveaway”

  1. Can’t believe you haven’t previously read Laurie King. I’ve been a fan for years, and am very much looking forward to reading her latest. To win a free copy would be great! Thanks for writing the review.


  2. Sheila K.

    From the time I read The Beekeeper’s Apprentice decades ago, I’ve been hooked on King’s writing—I can’t wait to get my hands on her latest book!

  3. Lynne Harrison

    I have been waiting for months for the publication of this novel. Laurie R. King is a favorite author of mine. This also coincides with a personal tour of novels set between the World Wars.

  4. Hallo Lianne!

    I am thrilled to bits you told me about this bookaway on your blog! I have been a strong follower of Ms. King ever since 2009 when I first uncovered her Mary Russell series! It took me a bit of time to sink into the story, as sometimes you discover an author before you can read their works, but ohh! What an absolute delight in finding an author who pays homage to the canon of Holmes, but cleverly puts her own spin on it at the very same time! I have not yet had the pleasure to seek out her other novels, yet, when I saw this one, I nearly mistook it for a Russell/Holmes mystery!

    She is going to be on Booktalk Nation soon, and I cannot wait to hear what she has to say about her writing life! Its all rather exciting right now! She’s stopping by your blog + I can virtually be a part of her tour again via Booktalk!

    I actually do not own any of her novels, as I had the honour of gifting the first Mary Russell book to a Canadian friend of mine who hadn’t yet come across her books! She was akin to bee culture as much as I am, and she surprised me in return with Plan Bee! You could say we were bookish friends who support the bees! 🙂 I remember shortly after this, I tried a special ice cream that gave a donation to protecting honey bees!

    As you gave the full backdrop of the 1920s Paris, I felt myself being tugged back into the world of “Z”,… where I was alighted for most of the opening months of 2013! I felt so drawn into Paris at that time reference, that I nearly felt like I had walked through the streets myself, and settled myself around the countryside! “Letters from Skye” kept me entranced, and I find myself longing for more books set there! Not since I saw “Midnight in Paris” did I think I’d become this enraptured with the city, aside from the Revolutionary era by which I read most heartedly!

    Hmm, this one might test my envelope for what I regularly read, when you were referencing the gritty elements of the story!? Did it push the envelope towards CSI or NCIS? Its my acid test — I can handle the latter, not the former! Laughs.

    Thank you for such a hearty glimpse into this story! My eyes are surely open to what I will find inside! You perked my interest on the ‘unusual’ aspect of the characters,… not since I saw a vampire theme crossing into an episode of “Nash Bridges” did I think a counter-culture could seep into modern mysteries so readily! Not sure if this is the take you are hinting at, but it drew to mind when I read that section!

    And, thank you to the publisher and host of the giveaway to draw 5 winners! How very generous and kind!

  5. Laurie

    Laurie R. King is one of my favorite authors. The time period will certainly add to the pleasure of reading this book.

    Love your review!

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