cover image The Messenger

The Messenger

Megan Davis. Pegasus Crime, $27.95 (448p) ISBN 978-1-63936-447-3

A man investigates his father’s homicide after serving time for the crime in Davis’s woolly debut thriller. Sixteen-year-old Alex Giraud has trouble acclimating when he and his dad, journalist Eddy, return to Paris following a decade in America. To appease his private-school bullies, Alex supplies them with drugs purchased from street-savvy petty criminal Sami Lantou. Then a deal goes wrong, and Alex and Sami’s scheme to pay their debts by robbing Eddy results in their arrests for his murder. Eddy was alive when Alex and Sami left him, and Alex feels certain someone else killed him, but he helps convict Sami in exchange for leniency. Seven years later, Alex is a free man, but he can’t move on until he exonerates Sami and catches the true culprit. In alternating timelines, Davis details the events preceding Eddy’s death and Alex’s present-day investigation. She paints a gritty portrait of Paris, and her dizzyingly complex plot touches on issues of classism, nationalism, and propaganda, but two-dimensional characters and a saggy, meandering middle lessen the impact. This ambitious debut bites off more than it can chew. Agent: Ruth Logan, Bonnier Books UK. (Aug.)