by Frédérique Molay
Being called to the scene of a murder is routine for Police Chief Nico Sirsky, 38, head of Paris’s Criminal Investigation Division — even if his new doctor, Caroline Dalry, has ordered him to avoid stress if he wants to sidestep an ulcer.
The investigation takes an ugly turn when the murderer promises to kill a woman a day for the next seven days. His uncanny ability to kill without detection, arousing suspicions or leaving clues make this investigation challenging. Then the murderer starts leaving messages targeting Sirsky, his family and his close colleagues.
This book begins as a nicely paced, typical police procedural and quickly takes some unusual twists. Sirsky is an interesting protagonist at a turning point in his life. His depressive ex-wife is recognizing that their marriage is over and that she needs specialized help. Her decision helps not only Sirsky, but also their 14-year-old son. Sirsky is falling quickly and deeply in love with Dr. Dalry. He’s in the midst of a successful career.
The serial murderer appears to be unstoppable. His murders are particularly cruel and gruesome. His knowledge of anatomy, surgery, technology and crime scene work seem almost — professional.
Molay writes clean, lean prose. It is often broken into short scenes that jump across different threads of the story. It would be easy to pick up and put down if the suspense weren’t so strong you’re almost compelled to read this book in one sitting.
This is the first book in the Paris Homicide series. The others include:
- Crossing the Line. Sirsky and his detectives follow a mysterious message through Christmas snow, not realizing the message was a frightened man’s last effort to announce his murder.
- The City of Blood. When a major Parisian modern art event gets unexpected attention on live TV, Sirsky and his team rush to La Villette park and museum complex. Where Paris’ slaughterhouses one stood, the blood is just starting to flow.
- Looking to the Woods. Sirsky interrupts rare family time to investigate the discovery of a 10-year-old girl’s mutilated body in a Paris park. Before 24 hours have passed a second child is found murdered and left in a middle school classroom.
The Author: Frédérique Molay (1947 – )
Molay has been described as the French Michael Connelly. She wrote her first novel at the age of 11. She wrote The 7th Woman while working in French government. The book won France’s prestigious crime fiction award, the Prix du Quai des Orfèvres, and was named Best Crime Fiction Novel of the Year by Lire magazine.
She took a break from politics to write Crossing the Line and The City of Blood, also part of the Paris Homicide series.
She is a graduate of France’s prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies, known as Science Po. Established in 1872, its mission is to train the future leaders of public and nonprofit organizations in the fields of political science, sociology, law, finance, business, urban policy, management, communication and journalism, among others. Its alumni include five French presidents, 13 French prime ministers, a former United Nations Secretary General, heads of French and European corporations and foreign heads of state.
Molay holds a master’s degree in business in administration. She began her career in politics and administration as chief of staff for a commission of the French National Assembly, then worked for the local government in Burgundy, ran in the European elections and was elected in Saône-et-Loire.
She returned to politics in June 2015, while writing Looking to the Woods, as chief of staff for a newly elected senator. She divides her time between Paris and Chalon-sur-Saône and between politics and police procedurals.