Much more than a traditional thriller….
Thrillers are often not my thing, so I’m still not quite sure why I picked up A Long Night in Paris and started reading it, ahead of all the other books in my “to be read” pile. But I’m glad I did.
I think I was originally pulled in by the description on the book’s webpage, which starts with someone disappearing from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, which I’ve travelled through many times. And, I’m also sort of a pushover for books set in France. Together those were enough to get me to try the sample. And after the sample, I got hooked, bought the book, and finished it in a couple of days.
The author has lived in both France and Israel, and he demonstrates his familiarity with both cultures. Many of the main characters in the book are Israeli, but much of the non-stop action takes place over a single day/night in Paris, although there are periodic cutaways to other locales. In addition, the author is a former Israeli intelligence officer, which probably helped with his development of the plot and characters; and a former newspaper editor, which definitely shows in his crisp writing style.
I especially enjoyed the characterizations of the various branches of the Israeli military and intelligence services and how they interact, although I have no way of really knowing how accurate they are. Given human nature, though, I suspect they are spot on. And (without being a spoiler) having noticed El Al aircraft parked in isolated locations with extra guards/security at airports around the world, I can definitely imagine El Al personnel behaving as portrayed near the beginning of the book.
A Long Night in Paris is not really a classic spy novel or thriller, in the old-fashioned cold war style. Instead, it’s a nicely updated version that blends together politics, police investigations, foreign intelligence/diplomacy, and more than a smidge of just plain old corruption. If there was an issue with the book for me, it was that many of the scenes hop around pretty quickly, so I really had to pay attention at first to keep up with what was going on. Rather quickly, though, I got into the style of the book, and then I didn’t notice it anymore. And after all, what’s the point of reading a book if you don’t pay attention to it?
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and hope that the author writes more!
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Awards: 2019 CWA International Dagger