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I enjoyed the first Inspector Rocco novel. Sadly it seems to have been a one-off. I gave up on this one after a few chapters. It is quite simply dull - as dreary as the landscape in which Rocco finds himself. The North African villains are as convincing as the baddies in an early Bond movie. It's perhaps significant that Roger May is an excellent narrator of JIm Kelly's crime novels but here sounds uninvolved with what's going on.
So this is the second book in what looks like it will be a series by Adrian Magson, about Inspector Lucas Rocco. Rocco is former military, and most recently has been working for the police in Paris, until an "initiative" sent more experienced people into less populated areas. This is how he got to be located in the tiny village of Poissons-Les-Marais in Picardie north of Paris. In the first book, he is struggling to get to know people, figure out whom he can trust, etc--even as he is immediately put to work on a challenging case.
In this book, he is a bit more settled, though still has an uneasy relationship with his superior officer, Massin. He is now presented with a case that is both dangerous and culturally sensitive, because it partially involves the human trafficking that is done between Northern Africa and France, and also mafia-like people. Both books are very good, though I liked the first one a *slight* bit better (felt this one had a little more violence than my comfort level would prefer). Both are action-packed, smoothly written, characters more developed.
The only difference that is truly noticeable is between narrators. Gordon Griffin read the first book--and I think his voice got imprinted on my mind in a way that hearing the difference with Roger May's narration was kind of startling. May is also an excellent narrator, and the only reason I gave him 4 stars is that his very British accent seems odd for a book that takes place in France. (That is possibly where Griffin did a better job). It looks like May will be the narrator going forward--and that's fine. He does a good job with various voices and inflection and timing--everything one hopes for in a good narrator. I just wish he could make the book sound more French and less British. Highly Recommend! Very good series.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
The first few hours with this book took some getting used to. I had become so accustomed to Gordon Griffin's impeccable narration in the first book that the change to Roger May was startling. His narration is very good, but not exceptional. It took me a while to get the hang of it and to appreciate his contribution to the story. By the end, I was comfortable with it - though never awed.
Magson's series is turning out to be terrific with a ton of potential for many books to come. He has a way of holding something back for the future. There's a restrained sense of character introduction. You expect a new character to become a big part of the plot soon like it typically would in a mystery. He's not that obvious. His characters sometimes become part of the book's ensemble cast. You know eventually there will be a story there, but he holds back. Second, while the plot is always compelling, he saves a little back. That understated approach actually makes it more interesting. Third, there's this location appeal. I'm getting such a good feel for rural France in the early 1960s. America almost always dominates any discussion of that era. It's really interesting to get a glimpse of that memorable decade from an entirely different perspective.
This series has it all: great characters, good solid plots, an interesting look back to the past, a wonderful terroir and excellent narration. I hope Magson can write fast.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful