Friday, March 1, 2013

NEW FANS FOR THE PARIS DIRECTIVE




          “Probably one of the toughest things to bring off in a novel,  ESPECIALLY
            a thriller, is charm….
            But, if a writer could pull off charm…with real characters…and a real plot…that
            works as a thriller that actually
           “thrills”…well, sir (or madam, as the case may be) then
            you’ve got a writer!
            AND a book!
            So, when we meet Inspector Mazarelle
            And follow him in his daily, touched by tragedy, life
            And meet psychotic assassin Klaus Reiner
            And watch as their paths are fated to cross
            And, through all this “horror” are still, not only held spellbound, but are charmed…
            THIS is a writer, and a character, you WANT to stay with for the long haul.
            By the way, Gerald Jay is a pseudonym. Who he is we do not know,
            WHAT he is, we do; one helluva story teller!”
                              --S. Berner (“First Time’s The Charm,”  Amazon, February 4, 2013)
                                                       

            ‘THE PARIS DIRECTIVE opens with two of the tightest pages of noir prose you’ll ever read. With deft precision, we are introduced to former East German agent Klaus Reiner performing adeptly in a new profession, assassin-for-hire. The passage is brilliant in detail, gripping and scary in effect. We know right away that Reiner will prove a formidable opponent for whatever hero is charged with bringing him down.”
                        --Paul McHugh (“Speed-Bumps,” Skullduggery, September 30, 2012)

                                                           

            “The German villain of THE PARIS DIRECTIVE, sleek as his Bentley Azure, a killer-for-hire with multiple identities, is pitted against Inspector Mazarelle, a lover of women, French cooking, and detection, which in this novel is a form of chivalry. Mazarelle is a deep-chair-comfortable moral center for this springhtly, stylish and sophisticated thriller. The reader is left wanting more of his company and more of Gerald Jay’s cinematic, intrigue-riddled, and tasty France.”
             --Calvin Bedient, (a contributor to the Los Angeles Review of  Books), 
                March 12, 2013
                                                           

            “The story of murder for hire is full of suspense but when one murder turns into 11 possible deaths (12 if you count the cat) you’ll be chewing your nails down to the quick….And you’ll find you need to keep reading just to see what happens (or gets killed—or almost killed—next).
            Author Gerald Jay did a great job intertwining so many seemingly unrelated people into one crime. And even those not in love with all things French will quickly find they have a soft spot for the brooding French detective Mazarelle. A fact that bodes well for future books featuring Mazarelle.  Looking back, Jay did an admirable job creating three-dimensional characters that you love, hate, or just want to meet. Even those that appear for the briefest time seem to appear with a fully developed personality, background, and motive. Bravo to Jay for creating such realistic characters.”
                                                    --Jodi Webb (“The Paris Directive,” Words by Webb,                                                                             December 31, 2012)


Violette Severin’s TOP TEN MYSTERY BOOKS OF 2012

   “Each year I prepare a list of my favorite top 10 mysteries of 
     the past year.  2012 is no different. Here are my favorites.

10. Threat Vector by Tom Clancy
  9. Kill Shot by Vince Flynn
  8. Blood Line by James Rollins
  7. THE PARIS DIRECTIVE BY GERALD JAY
  6. Fall from Grace by Richard North Patterson
  5.  Kingdom of Strangers by Zoe Ferraris
  4.  Black List by Brad Thor
  3.  The Giving Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini
  2.  The Racketeer by John Grisham
  1. The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva”
                                    --The Mystery Bookshelf, December 30, 2012


Sunday, December 30, 2012

PARIS DIRECTIVE Named One of 2012's Best



The Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2012
by Trina Hayes 

The best mysteries and thrillers are like delicious phyllo dough pastries. You never know what's inside them until you take a bite. Then their flavors begin to meld and spices that might seem overwhelming alone blend with others to reveal surprising sensations. The best pastries satisfy your yearnings and make you want eat every last crumb as quickly as you can.  The best mysteries and thrillers of 2012 offer tantalizing blends of evil and kindness, madness and mayhem and you'll want to find a cozy spot where no one can bother you as you devour them without interruption. 

The Best Thriller of 2012:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a deftly sculpted psychological thriller that resembles an upside-down cake laced with arsenic. Amy disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary and her husband Nick is accused of her murder even though no body has been found. As more facts about each of the characters reveal themselves, the reader is caught up in a web of deception, madness and cruelty that only a skilled writer could pull off.  You will either adore this book or find it "too much." Regardless, Flynn's skill at weaving the intricate threads that keep the story taut must be admired. Once you start the book, be prepared to do nothing else until you finish. 

The Best Mystery of 2012:
A Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny (although her A Trick of the Light could have tied for first place).  Penny just keeps getting better and any title in the Inspector Gamache series is almost impossible to beat. A Beautiful Mystery is set in a remote monastery where a monk's murder poses a "locked" room quandary. Only the monks were there and none of them could have done it - or could they?  This order of monks may be ready to make real money with their Gregorian chant recordings. Inspector Gamache and his aide Jean-Guy Beauvoir have problems with headquarters and their personal lives that may interfere with finding the killer. As always, Penny makes each character a blend of complicated emotions as she shows how evil can be overcome. Read all of these mysteries (eight thus far with another on the way) before the debut of the Canadian public television series soon to come of the first two books. 

Other great mysteries I read in 2012 include: 

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke is a debut mystery that won high acclaim last year.  Jay Porter is an African-American attorney in Houston in this piece set in 1981.  He lives in fear because only one juror stood between him and a felony conviction and the FBI file on him is thick so he never wavers from being upright and law abiding. But when a mystery involving politics, oil and corruption literally falls into his lap when he saves a woman from drowning, his proper life begins to unravel. Will his investigations of Houston's power elite ruin his quiet life? Locke's newest novel, The Cutting Season, is one I hope to read soon as it's also garnering lots of critical praise. 

Defending Jacob by William Landay is a fast-paced courtroom drama and story of the son of a district attorney who's accused of killing a classmate.  As the father tries to save his son, he has to ask if a tendency to violence is an inheritable trait and then to explore his own past. The courtroom scenes are crisp and realistic as the author is a former district attorney.  The book will keep readers on the edge until the extremely clever ending. 

The Paris Directive by Gerald Jay introduces Inspector Paul Mazarelle, a droll, sly, unkempt, seemingly slow, cognac swigging, former Parisian star inspector who now lives in a small Dordogne village where a grisly murder is committed. The victim's daughter and the inspector track an international killer and find unexpected hurdles to overcome. This is the first in a series I predict will capture readers everywhere.  It's cinematic touches in evoking the countryside and the mischievous inspector seem perfect for the screen as well.  I can already envision some great actors portraying Mazarelle. 

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton is part mystery, part historical fiction and part classic British domestic drama. Sixteen-year-old Laurel watches a man die at a 1960s picnic and recalls the memory at her mother's 90th birthday celebration as she seeks clues to the death in her mother's early days as a young woman in WWII's London blitz era. 
 
 
 
The above is from the December 29, 2012 post of Trina Hayes' "Hungry for Good Books?" blog. 
 
 
 

Friday, December 28, 2012

ARRIVING MARCH 12, 2013....


The trade paperback edition of Gerald Jay's Dordogne thriller!!





                                                   --coming from ANCHOR BOOKS

The unpredictable Inspector Paul Mazarelle, the diabolical villain Klaus Reiner, and the beautiful Molly Reece will emerge once again this spring in the new trade paperback edition of  THE PARIS DIRECTIVE.


Don't miss it!!





Monday, September 17, 2012

Carnage in la France Profonde

-->
          Wednesday, September 5, 2012.  It was a gruesome crime scene. Bad as they come, according to local officials. A family of foreign tourists vacationing in nearby Annecy had been found by the side of a country road, their bloody car and three dead bodies riddled with bullets. Though in my novel, The Paris Directive, the four visitors are murdered in the Dordogne rather than the French Alps, the basic similarities—the savagery of the crimes and the victims being foreigners--had me riveted. Perhaps most striking of all was that in both instances the glorious bucolic setting had been turned into an abattoir.
            Gendarmes identified the murdered driver of the BMW as a 50-year-old engineer named Saad al-Halli, a British citizen born in Bagdad. His wife and mother-in-law slumped over in the back seat dead, and outside the car his 7-year old daughter Zainab pistol-whipped and seriously wounded. Nearby was a lone French cyclist (Sylvain Mollier, a nuclear metallurgist) who was shot dead, apparently for chancing upon the crime scene . Doubtless it was the German-made car and its British license plates that initially led authorities to believe this might have been a random act of xenophobic violence. Or perhaps, because of the remoteness of the rural setting, that it was a car jacking gone sour or some other crime of opportunity. The sort of horrific scene more commonly associated with drug-infested urban banlieues than pastoral innocence. Writing in the British Telegraph, Colin Randall made the point that the deadly fate that befell the al-Halli family, while not common in the idyllic French countryside, was by no means as rare as it once was.
            Investigators upon closer inspection of the three victims inside the car and the two bodies fallen outside on the ground soon came up with other theories. The killing ground was littered with some twenty-five spent cartridges from a single semi-automatic weapon that forensic experts would identify as a Lugar PO8, a model once standard issue to the Swiss Army. And the head wounds responsible for the deaths of al-Halli, his wife, and mother-in-law were in each instance the result of two bullets fired at close range in quick succession into the forehead—“double taps” as they’re termed by Special Operations personnel like the U.S. Navy Seals who killed Osama Bin Laden. The killers were no amateurs. According to a former chief of Scotland Yard’s  Flying Squad, this was most likely a “political assassination,” with a pre-planned target. If so, it would have been roughly similar to the killings in my novel in that the targeted hit was accompanied by ghastly collateral damage.
            The French prosecutor in charge of this case, Eric Maillaud, told the press that he would be following three lines of inquiry: 1) a family conflict over money,  2) sensitive aeronautical engineering work Saad al-Halli may have done for the British government and 3) al-Hilli’s links with his native Iraq. Despite their many questions about these murders, French investigators were determined to “crack this case.” And for foreigners such as the British reporter Colin Randall, the growing number of multiple killings in the French countryside suggested that even the spectacular beauty of la France profonde had its scary darker side.

Monday, July 23, 2012

RECENT KUDOS for THE PARIS DIRECTIVE

Vastly Entertaining

….Author Gerald Jay has taken the threads of the police procedural, the spy novel, and French charm and woven them into a vastly entertaining read. Mazarelle is a big bear of a man who smokes a special blend (Philosophe) of tobacco in his pipe, enjoys a midday cognac, and eats his favorite meals at the Café Valon. Although he believes he's not in the ranks of literary sleuths the like of Maigret or Poirot because his powers of intuition are much greater than his powers of observation, he is known as "the Swiss Army knife of detectives." One of the things he insists upon when given command of the investigation is the power of handpicking his detectives, and it's fascinating to see how he chooses them. During the selection, I felt as though there was one detective in particular that was a weak link, and it was interesting to see if my deduction was correct.

Molly Reece adds a strong yet naïve element to the cast of characters, although her intelligence and intuition seems to fade in and out as the story progresses. Klaus Reiner is one of the more interesting villains I've become acquainted with recently, a chillingly attractive blend of ego, intelligence, and psychopathy.

There are some excellent mystery series set in France-- especially those written by Cara Black, Fred Vargas, and Martin Walker. How does Gerald Jay's The Paris Directive compare? Very well indeed. I was quite happy to see that he's working on his second Inspector Mazarelle mystery. These talented writers are making France a regular stop in my crime fiction reading.

                                                                 --Cathy G. Cole, Amazon, (July 20, 2012)


Excellent Read!

This book surprised me. I'm used to the "same old thing" with crime/thrillers, and most just rehash old ground. The best, then, are ones that stand out for other reasons...excellent pacing, deep characterizations, and so forth. This isn't really an exception in terms of plot (there's nothing new under the sun), but it does stand out in every other way. I found myself engaged and interested, and I cared about the characters and what happened in the story. Really an excellent read. Highly recommended.

                                                                   --Matthew Brown, Amazon (July 14, 2012)


 
Murder-for-hire gone awry + intriguing characters
 + well-constructed plot = fun for all

The Paris Directive is to be the first in a series of thrillers revolving around protagonist Paul Mazarelle, a former Paris Inspector now living in the provincial town of Taziac, France.
Mazarelle, currently downtrodden and bored in his new environs, finds himself reinvigorated when he is thrust, headlong, into a grisly quadruple homicide that was originally to be a singular hit, on a wealthy industrialist, that, by circumstance, went horribly awry for the antagonist, Klaus Reiner.

To further complicate matters, Molly Reece, the daughter of two of the unintended victims and coincidentally a New York City ADA, shows up to collect her parents' remains and is less than satisfied with the progress, or in this case lack thereof, by Mazarelle and his squad in tracking down Reiner. Mazarelle, his cohorts, and the whole village have fingered small-time criminal turned family-man Ali Sedak, from Algeria, for the homicides. However, as Reece digs further into the circumstances surrounding Sedak and the murders she finds herself increasingly skeptical of the work of Taziac's finest, and ultimately entwined in Reiner's calculating and lethal web…. As a whole The Paris Directive is a captivating thriller filled with well-developed and relatable characters and an ever-increasingly juicy plot. I highly recommend this novel and any that will follow!

                                                                 --Pebblepuppy, Amazon (July 12, 2012)


 
Murder Chess

 ….When four brutal murders occur, Mazarelle delves into an investigation and a mystery much like a game of chess. As the story unfolds, he must match wits with suspects and leads that are revealed in bits and pieces.

The plot thickens as Molly Reece, an American and daughter of two of the murder victims, arrives on the scene. An attorney with the DA office in New York City, Molly decides to stay in France longer as she asks incisive questions and begins some of her own detective work. A striking redhead, intelligent and articulate…. Molly easily turns the heads of men, including Inspector Mazarelle, an American Embassy officer, Dwight Bennett, and a man who passes himself off as Pierre Barmeyer. Molly puts herself in danger as she makes clear she is not convinced the prime suspect is the actual murderer. Can Mazarelle protect her? Has he arrested the wrong person? What is the connection of the murders to a bigger plot?
…. As the main story resolves itself, the book leaves threads to set up potential sequels to include more of Inspector Mazarelle's investigations. I recommend this book and look forward to more adventures of the colorful French inspector from Taziac.

                                                                       --W. Easley, Amazon (July 16, 2012)

 
A Brilliant Thriller

A brilliant thriller-- extremely well written with compelling characters and an intriguing, international plot. Five Stars.

                                                                         --Diabelli, LibraryThing (June 24, 2012)



Wonderful Experience

It is a wonderful experience to read the first book in a new series, by a new author, that is so exceptionally well done and with a character so fully drawn and likeable that you know beyond any shadow of doubt that the character will go on to become a “classic” in the world of fictional detectives…. I would not be at all surprised to learn that Gerald Jay is an already well-respected novelist. The writing is too fine, the plot too well orchestrated to be someone’s “first” book. If this is Jay’s first book then a major new writer has burst into the mystery genre.

                                                               --Mysterymax, LibraryThing (July 9, 2012)


 Extremely Entertaining

Wow! A refreshing , at times humorous story about an aging detective in the Dordogne region in France. This book is well written and extremely entertaining. It has been a long time since I stayed up late to finish a book, but this one did it. I hope the second Mazarelle novel is out soon. Well done.

                                                                --Milkmanson, LibraryThing (July 9, 2012)


 Close to Mystery Nirvana

 This is pretty close to mystery nirvana: a sophisticated book set in France, populated by interesting characters, with descriptions of good food. Ahh.

Paul Mazarelle used to be a well-regarded detective in Paris, but he relocated to the Dordogne region because his wife was dying and she wanted to return home. It is 1999 and Mazarelle, now a widower, is still a flic in Taziac…. Into Mazarelle's lap falls a violent crime. Four tourists have been viciously murdered in their rental home in the countryside. Author Jay threads another story through this one, one more political and international in nature. Two former French agents have hired an assassin, Klaus Reiner. It is clear that his target is one or more of the tourists. But why? And is he really the murderer. A handyman at the rental home, Ali Sedak, has the misfortune of being a foreign national from Algeria and is being looked at for the crimes.

Although he has been away from senses-sharpening Paris for a while, Mazarelle's instincts are still attuned to what is out of place. His instincts tell him that Ali Sedak is not the killer. Echoing that thought is the American daughter of two of the victims, who has flown to Taziac to claim the bodies of her parents. She is determined to help catch whoever it really was and instead, of course, winds up on the wrong end of a cat-and-mouse game.

The mysterious Gerald Jay has written a very good debut novel. I suspect, however, that this is not his first book. He combines two serious storylines with a good sense of place, a sense of humor, and well-rounded characters…. Whoever the author is, he appreciates art and good food, essentials for writing a book set in France, n'est-ce pas?

                                                                --Barbara Tom, GoodReads (July 15, 2012)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

MORE PRAISE on AMAZON for THE PARIS DIRECTIVE

Nice, Dark, Twisty
 July 5, 2012
….The Paris Directive is one of those solid, workmanlike mysteries that are always so satisfying to read. What sets this novel apart from most mysteries is that it's told from multiple points of view, one of them being the killer's. In fact, the story begins as our villain commits the first of the murders that will occur in the book. The first murder goes well. It's everything thereafter that goes wrong. The first murder shows us what a cool, determined, and efficient killer our villain is, so when he accepts the next assignment, we expect him to proceed with his usual efficiency. But now, and this is one of the most intriguing aspects of the book, things start to go very wrong and keep getting worse. To protect both himself and his employers, our villain must return to the scene of the crime, the Dordogne region of France, to fix the latest problem. But every time he sets up a situation to solve the problem, not only is the problem not solved, but his solution draws our hero, Inspector Mazarelle, closer to identifying the villain. The plot is nicely twisty, with each revelation exposing yet one more layer of the mystery, and one more level of authority (from local police to the Foreign Ministry). As a result, the story turns out to be very mysterious, indeed.

This is a wonderfully satisfying book to read. In fact, I actually read it twice, and enjoyed it thoroughly both times. The style is clean and spare, the story a series of ever more complicated plots within plots. What keeps us glued to the pages is the cat-and-mouse game between the Inspector and the killer; we already know who the killer is, the suspense comes from wondering who's really behind it all and how much more damage the killer will do before he's finally stopped. Along the way, the author weaves together the separate strands of the story to create a tapestry of intrigue and deception. If you took a bit of Simenon, added in a bit of Forsyth's "Day of the Jackal" and a bit of Nicholas Freeling, you'd probably end up with something like "The Paris Directive."

Gerald Jay has created a nicely paced story filled with well-drawn characters and set in an unusual locale. While so many mysteries take place in cities, The Paris Directive takes us to a fairly secluded locale, a small town in the Dordogne, where most of the residents know each other, making it that much more difficult for the killer to remain unnoticed. Eventually, the mystery moves back to Paris but in unexpected ways. Including what I'll call a "post-mortem murder." Read the book to find out what that means…

                                                                                                       --Robin Wolfson “Reliza”



Odd Start but it Keeps Getting Better... and Better... and Better...
 June 21, 2012
There is something worthwhile in hanging in there on a book that you're not quite finding at the start…At the end, I'm glad I stayed with it because this is a damn good story well told.

Inspector Mazarelle, the main character, is a sort of Columbo type detective - older, rumply appearance, looks like he's got some tough mileage on him. His nemesis in this tale is sort of a chameleon-type person who can be anyone he needs to be and can easily switch between the various characters at his disposal. Change the hair, the wardrobe, the accent, the official documents... and he's no longer who he appeared to be.

The storyline has real grit and a fair amount of gloss in the people, the professions, the actions they undertake and the locations where the action takes place. This tough/tender dichotomy makes for consistently interesting reading as the storyline develops. …So settle in, and thoroughly enjoy yourself. If you're a fan of mysteries and thrillers, you should like this one a lot.
                                                                                                           --J.M. Jacobs


A game of cat and mouse in the Dordogne
 June 14, 2012
Like most long-time mystery readers, I feel an eager anticipation when I start the first book in a new series, wondering if it will be an introduction to a protagonist who will become like an old friend, revisited each year. In the case of The Paris Directive, just the listing of the first few chapters provided a frisson of excitement:

1. Berlin
2. Élysée Palace, Paris
3. Hotel Adlon, Berlin
4. L'Ermitage, Taziac
5. Frankfurt
6. Dordogne River, Bergerac
7. Café Valon, Taziac

Ah, looks like international intrigue. Sure enough, we begin by meeting Klaus Reiner, hired killer, whose cold efficiency, bland good looks and fluency in German, French and English have put him at the peak of his deadly profession, with the ability to choose the most lucrative contracts.

Reiner's newest assignment takes him to the fictional village of Taziac, in France's Dordogne. The beautiful village in summer, with its cafés and restaurants, makes no impression on the all-business Reiner. He just wants to get the job done and move on, with the satisfaction of seeing an impressively large new deposit to his numbered account in Switzerland. But the hit goes wrong and Reiner has to take out four middle-aged tourists, instead of just the one assigned to him.

This is where our protagonist enters the scene. Paul Mazarelle, a former Paris police detective now living in Taziac, jumps on the case like a dog on a bone. Mazarelle had moved to Taziac, his young wife's home village, when she became ill, and he is now a widower who doesn't know whether to make Taziac his permanent home or return to Paris. Mazarelle is a comfortably large, middle-aged man with a luxuriant mustache, who enjoys his pipe, good wine and food, and women. But, most of all, Mazarelle likes to sink his teeth into a meaty murder case.

Mazarelle's investigation quickly identifies a likely suspect, but he has some doubts and digs deeper, mostly hampered, more than helped, by his men, especially Duboit, whose job qualifications include stupidity, laziness, insolence, racism and habitual abuse of suspects and witnesses...When a... daughter arrives from the U.S. to kibitz the investigation and further inflame the interest of the already-annoying journalists who have descended on the town, Mazarelle's job becomes even more complicated.

An intriguing cat-and-mouse game begins between Mazarelle and Reiner, which leads to a tense and dramatic climax. Readers who enjoy inverted mysteries (those in which the culprit is known; not a whodunnit) should enjoy this story… Gerald Jay is a pseudonym. Whoever he is…his writing is assured and powerful, leading me to believe he must have some kind of writing experience. Jay is said to be at work on a new Mazarelle book. I'm hopeful that as we get to know Mazarelle better, he will become an old friend.

                                                                                                              --Maine Colonial


I will be waiting for the next one!
 June 21, 2012  
 Want some international intrigue…or how about a paid assassin? Or maybe a book set in Canada…and Paris..and Germany and in a small rural town in the Dordogne River region of France. Throw in some corporate espionage and a young American woman being hunted by a killer and then top it all off with a classic French detective in the vein of Poirot or Maigret, clever but bored, flawed but dogged.
Yes, in this book you can have all that and more. It almost sounds like overkill, too much to include in a believable plot, but somehow Gerald Jay (a pseudonym) is clever enough to pull it off smoothly and produce a quite entertaining book.

This is more a thriller than a mystery, in that we know from the first pages who the hired killer is, Klaus Reiner. Or at least, that is the name he is going by at the moment. We witness his execution of a blackmailer as he gives her just one sharp shove down an empty elevator shaft, so clean, so neat, just like he likes things. And then we are there as two former French agents hire him to kill a tourist who will be vacationing with his wife and friends in the fictional village of Taziac. He has a clever plan but things go a little wrong and he ends up having to kill all four, an American and a Canadian couple, in a particularly gruesome way, a crime too loud to be covered up quietly as he promised those who hired him. So he needs to do some cleanup as well. He attempts to set up an Arab handyman for the crime..the man is an admitted thief and wife beater..and the regional police may have bought it, but when Inspector Mazarelle is brought in, it is a different story. Mazarelle was a very successful police inspector in Paris, but moved to Taziac so his dying wife could be at home for her last days. But she is now gone and the inspector is very, very bored with the petty crime of the area. This is the challenge he is looking for! Then to make the hitman's task ever harder, the daughter of one couple, an ADA from NYC, arrives to identify her parents' bodies and she too is after the identity of the real killer. So much for the killer to clean up now.

The real mystery, not clear at first in that pile of bodies at the vacation house, is who the intended victim actually is and who and why he was wanted dead. That's where all that international intrigue comes in, with twists and turns, until all working itself out quite neatly at the end. A suggestion...do not double cross a hit man after you hire him. It will not work out well for you.

This is the first book in a series, with a sequel promised in the near future. And I tell you, when it comes out, I will be reading it. Mazarelle is at the heart of this book and he is a great character, with his big mustache, his taste for a nice cognac and a plate of his favorite duck confit in the evening and his kitty, who better hope he has one of his nine lives left. The setting, mainly in the French countryside is delightful, even with a few neo-Nazis running around and the plot moves along at a good, believable pace to an exciting climax just made for the big screen.
                                                                                                         --Cait

 
Great Summer Read
 June 30, 2012
 To me, this is a great summer read. If you can imagine A Year in Provence as a murder mystery, then you get the flavor of this book-- a mysterious killing in the French countryside, an investigation among the markets and restaurants and country houses of the Dordogne, and a great rumpled detective in Mazarelle. Then add in the game of wits between the cold-hearted Reiner and warm Mazarelle--two rich characters locked in a mano a mano--and you have a wonderful vacation of a book from an assured author. A really enjoyable start to a new series....

The real mystery is -- who is Gerald Jay?                                                                                                                                                                                                                         -- RNG

Saturday, May 26, 2012

EARLY PRAISE for THE PARIS DIRECTIVE

BOOKLIST -- Starred Review-- May 1, 2012



 The Paris Directive
  Jay, Gerald (author).

June 2012. 336p. Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, hardcover, $25.
  First published May 1, 2012 (Booklist).

Paris police Inspecteur Paul Mazarelle transferred to the sleepy Dordogne when his wife decided to return to the village of her birth to spend her final days. A year after her death, he’s lonely and unfulfilled by rural life and policing. But the brutal murders of two American couples put a spring in his step. What he doesn’t know is that the murders were a professional hit commissioned at the highest levels of French government. The pseudonymous Jay has woven threads of police procedural, espionage, rural noir, “acts of barbarism,” and Gallic charm into a story that will be a great fit for almost any crime fan. Mazarelle is a memorable flic—hulking, disheveled, intuitive, and world-weary. The hitman is an East German who has ardently embraced capitalism and conspicuous consumption (the book is set in 1999). The American daughter of two of the victims arrives to ask some pointed questions, and she is strikingly attractive, smart, and very direct; and the natives of the Dordogne are engagingly and quirkily French. This is the start of a series, and the only disappointing note is that, upon dispatching the killer, Mazarelle returns to Paris. It’s likely that many readers would love to spend more time in Jay’s Dordogne.Thomas Gaughan


AMAZON Reviews
                 
A Fine Detective Literary Thriller
May 1, 2012
               
 Descriptively packaged, wrapped-up in Graham Green intrigue, & tied-off in a Richard Condon bow/A special present for the reader to open and enjoy.
The Paris Directive opens with/the elegant Frau Dr. Sachs, her shoulder-length hair dyed the color of a concert grand, stepping off an elevator, with ...a palm to the small of her back, sending her screaming down the shaft, her shrieks tailing after her like a torn parachute.
Soon after the reader is in the halls of power just as a political plot begins to unfold. Klaus Reiner, who recently gave the finishing touch to Dr. Sachs, is employed for some more finishing touches in the higher realms of capital & influence. An ill wind has now been set, blowing toward the small French village of Taziac, where the aging Inspector Paul Mazarelle is about to have his world changed once again.
He was a Paris detective/Born and bred from its sounds, its smells, he had a career there, a job that meant something. It was the one place in the world in which he felt most alive, most in tune with his flesh, and every day was a throw of the dice. But his young wife, terminally ill with cancer, wants to go to the village where she'd grown up to die. He leaves Paris and is transferred.
With her death Mazarelle is at a cross roads.
But before he can even make a decision, he finds himself in a situation where he must bring his game quickly back to speed; as the village league, or even the Paris league experience he has, may not be enough - for the globalized international fields of play.

The novel has a light touch of the urban Sicilian police Inspector Salvo Montalbano; in that the setting is urban, the police force small, the politics local. All of this, and more, adding to its localized 'character'.

Klaus begins laying out the groundwork in the village to assassinate an elitist calibre vacationer. But things don't exactly go according to plan, and the pace starts picking up even more, the suspense then continues to build, and with the continued added twists - the reader can't turn the pages fast enough.
                                                                            -- R.A.Barricklow

Engrossing and Compelling Detective Story Set in the French Countryside
May 19, 2012

"The Paris Directive" is an engrossing and compelling detective story set in the French countryside where a Parisian detective has resettled to deal with his grief at the death of his wife. The reader knows from the outset that at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin, an assassin has been hired to kill someone. The blond assassin dyes his hair dark brown and travels to this quaint village. He is diabolically cunning and sets about framing a worker of Arab descent who happens to be a rather nasty man too (a wife beater). Instead of killing just the one intended victim, this sociopath assassin brutally slays two wealthy middle-aged vacationing couples. Three bodies slaughtered with knives are found in their rented house. The missing husband of one of the women is immediately suspected. It isn't until Detective Mazarelle steps in that the true picture of what happened unfolds. One of the victims' daughter, a Manhattan attorney, travels to France to claim the bodies of her parents and this character lends additional excitement and intrigue. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and the various references author Gerald Jay incorporated into the story to lend the aura of authenticity to the plot.  
                                                                                              --G.K. Libbey

Intelligent and Fast-Paced
June 5, 2012

The hero of this cat and mouse mystery, Inspector Paul Mazarelle, is a totally original creation, being middle-aged, overweight and with "AVO" tattooed on his right bicep. AVO stands for amor vincit omnia. He has a somewhat depressed mustache, giving him a sense of gravitas. Mazarelle is even a bit on the lazy side until his interest is peaked. He smokes a pipe, sips on Cognac in the middle of the day, loves sausages and is more of a beagle than a greyhound. Not your usual sleuth, but a very appealing one.

Mazarelle has the usual somewhat dumb policeman side-kick, one Bernard Duboit. The inspector teases him, noting the young man's receding hair "you'll be as bald as a hubcap before you're thirty." But Mazarelle is pleasant, even earthy and moves into the murder investigation like a bulldozer and you would not like to be in his way.

Mazarelle's enemy is the ruthless killer Klaus Reiner who will bump off anybody for a price, a high price. In the first chapter you see him in action: a judge who killed a girl with his car and then left the scene, finds there had been a witness to the accident. The judge pays Reiner to get rid of her. Reiner niftily disposes of her down an elevator shaft when she thinks she is stepping out on to her regular floor. A very resourceful killer we have here. He even is an expert on mushrooms, combing the woods to find the deadly death cap, the ingestion of which is a really awful way to die.

The two antagonists Reiner and Mazarelle, the former like a steel knife, honed, ready to strike, the latter like a comfortable but sturdy old shoe, lead the reader on a merry chase. However, this is not a murder mystery because we know who the villain is. The mechanics of the chase, the strategy involved in catching a very slippery bad-guy are the structure of this novel.

Author Jay is well-informed across many disciplines and when two couples, one American one Canadian are brutally murdered in their rented home in Tazaic (a fictitious French town) Inspector Marazelle digs in his heels. The ramifications of the murders are global, the crime is political as one of the murdered men, Schuyler Phillips, was CEO of Tornade, a huge company making jet planes and fast locomotives. We learn that two former French Intelligence agents had hired professional assassin Reiner to kill Phillips. However, the unsuspecting wife of Phillips and the American couple barge in just as Phillips is being iced so they must die, too.

Into the plot steps attractive Molly Reece, the district attorney daughter of one of the murdered couples. She is not anywhere near as good a character as Mazarelle but she adds to the liveliness of the plot and she is in Taziac asking questions about the murder of her parents. The novel proceeds at a fast pace and has a satisfying ending. Even Michou, Mazzarelle's "smug grossly overweight" cat although perhaps losing a couple of her nine lives manages to survive.

Although not a who dunnit "The Paris Directive" is well written and interesting with lots of twists and turns in a complicated stew of international intrigue. Inspector Mazarelle is the lynch-pin that holds the novel together and he is an attractive protagonist that you can't help liking and sympathizing with.                                                                                         --P.B. Sharp



If you like Poirot, Marshal Guarnaccia or Aurelio Zen, this is for you!!
June 21, 2012

From our introduction in Berlin to [Klaus] Reiner, killer for hire, to diplomatic disaster at the Elysee Palace to a small fictional village in Dordogne, this murder mystery driven by international intrigue never ceases to entertain. Written as the first in a series featuring Inspector Paul Mazarelle, formerly of Paris but now living in Taziac, Mazarelle must bring all his skills to bear when a grisly quadruple homicide occurs in the sleepy tourist region.

Both the killer and the inspector find things difficult when Molly, a New York City district attorney and daughter of two of the victims, arrives to identify the bodies and stays to investigate the crime. Reiner's foil for the crimes is a local Arab handyman and as doubts to the handyman's guilt occur, Reiner must return to make sure the handyman's guilt is maintained. This isn't a simple murder for hire; it is more like a chess game.

I really enjoyed this book: it was well written, had a rich and satisfying cast of characters and a great plot. I look forward to seeing more of Inspector Mazarelle.              --trp 


                                                                                                               
MYSTERY TRIBUNE   5.0 review
May 17, 2012

We recently received "The Paris Directive", a debut novel by Gerald Jay, from the publisher Nan A. Talese (Random House) and were really impressed by the quality and the elegant use of language which this author demonstrated in his book. What comes next is our take on this exciting novel and first in Inspector Mazarelle series which is scheduled to be released on June 19, 2012.
 A Brief Summary: 

In a Berlin hotel room in the late 1990s, two former French intelligence agents hire Klaus Reiner, a ruthlessly effective killer, to eliminate an American industrialist vacationing in southwestern France. Reiner easily locates his target in the small Dordogne village of Taziac, but the hit is compromised when three innocent people are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Enter Inspector Paul Mazarelle. Formerly of Paris but now living in Taziac, the inspector is charged with bringing his experience and record of success in the capital to bear on the gruesome quadruple homicide at the height of tourist season.
Both Mazarelle’s investigation and Reiner’s job become complicated when Molly, a New York City district attorney and daughter of two of the victims, arrives to identify the bodies and begins asking questions. All evidence points to Ali Sedak, a local Arab handyman, but Mazarelle and Molly have doubts, forcing Reiner to return to Taziac to ensure they see things as he arranged them. Little does anyone in the picturesque French countryside know how politically charged this crime is: its global ramifications, stemming from the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, could overshadow everything.

Our Take: 

This is a very refreshing story with a style which we have not usually seen from American authors: The book has a European flavor with most of the story happening in relatively small towns in France. The lead character reminded us a little of Georges Simenon's Commissaire Maigret. Character development is very strong and quite a bit of detail is provided on the life of Inspector Mazarelle and his personal challenges, his past life in Paris and his dead wife.
But beyond all these, there is something in the way the author writes his dialogues and shapes the characters that made us love the book.

 Our Rating: 5.0

Gerald Jay is truly a master in elegant use of language and a bright star in the world of crime fiction.
           This is one of those books that we really loved.