cover image The Children Return: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel

The Children Return: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel

Martin Walker. Knopf, $24.95 (336) ISBN 978-0-385-35415-8

Recent events make the themes of Walker’s thoughtful seventh novel set in France’s Périgord (after 2014’s The Resistance Man)—terrorism and prejudice—seem eerily prescient. Bruno Courrèges, the St. Denis a police chief, is sickened by the burnt, tortured corpse he discovers and later identifies as Rafiq, an undercover operative investigating extremist infiltration at a nearby mosque. Soon afterward, Bruno learns that local youth Sami Belloumi, an autistic savant, is being transported home from Afghanistan, where he has been forced by jihadists (whom he met through the mosque’s school) to engineer lethal terrorist bombs. Sami’s return puts St. Denis in the middle of a media firestorm; experts converge to determine his legal treatment even as Rafiq’s killers try to silence Sami and Bruno. More thriller than mystery, this installment lacks the warmth of the series’ more-local story lines—but Bruno still has time to savor food, wine, and his attraction to a FBI liaison. [em]Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Felicity Bryan Associates. (Apr.) [/em]