cover image The Blood Promise: A Hugo Marston Novel

The Blood Promise: A Hugo Marston Novel

Mark Pryor. Prometheus/Seventh Street, $15.95 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-61614-815-7

In Pryor’s engaging third Hugo Marston novel (after 2012’s The Bookseller), Hugo, a regional security officer at the American embassy in Paris, is less than thrilled to learn that he must babysit Charles Lake, a U.S. senator and presidential hopeful, at the chateau of the aristocratic Tourville family outside Paris. An isolationist, Lake is an unlikely official to be charged with sensitive diplomatic negotiations between France and the U.S. regarding the French island of Guadeloupe. When Lake is drugged at dinner and claims that intruders broke into his room and searched his papers, Hugo’s detective friend, Raul Garcia, discovers that one of the distinguished guests is linked to an unsolved murder. Stonewalling by the Tourvilles and subsequent killings tell Hugo that a missing antique chest may hold the key to the case. Despite some clumsy treatment of character details that are irrelevant to the plot, the cliffhanger chapter endings and an exciting chase involving the Queen Mary II liner keep the reader riveted. Agent: Ann Collette, Rees Literary Agency. (Jan.)