cover image The Reluctant Matador: A Hugo Marston Novel

The Reluctant Matador: A Hugo Marston Novel

Mark Pryor. Prometheus Books/Seventh Street, $15.95 trade paper (290p) ISBN 978-1-63388-002-3

Near the start of Pryor’s intricately-plotted fifth Hugh Marston novel (after 2014’s The Button Man), Hugh, the security chief at the American embassy in Paris, is supposed to meet Amy Dreiss, the 19-year-old stepdaughter of an old friend, Bart Denum, at a restaurant for breakfast, but she fails to show. Amy came to Paris hoping for a modeling career, but Hugh later discovers that the missing teen was working at a strip club instead. Hugh and sidekick Tom Green follow Amy’s trail to Barcelona, where she traveled with a young man, Rubén Casteñada, who offered her a job there. When Hugh and Tom check out Casteñada’s Barcelona address, they find his body on the apartment floor—and a blood-drenched Bart, who protests his innocence. Extraneous characters and digressions on their habits and history lend a certain aura of coziness to this gory tale. Agent: Ann Collette, Rees Literary Agency. (June)