With his first two novels, Mark Pryor established himself as one of the best thriller writers out there. His head of US embassy security, Hugo Marston, has become one of the most engaging good guys out there. With his latest, The Blood Promise, he ups the ante and the emotion.
Hugo is assigned the task of protecting a senator visiting a country chalet to broker a treaty with the French. When the senator believes someone has broken into his room, the story takes on an Agatha Christie, house-full-of-suspects vibe. Soon it turns into a race across France and gets very personal when one of Hugo’s colleagues is in jeopardy.
Pryor proves you can have fully realized characters and still have a fast moving plot. Any of his supporting characters, Inspector Garcia, CIA buddy Tom Green and his journalist girlfriend, Claudia, all could be the protagonists in their own books. Pryor fleshes them out through behavior and dialogue, never pausing as we get to know them.
A perfect example is his latest character, Camille Lerens, who could possibly be one of the first transgender detectives in a major role. The brilliance in his depiction is that Pryor makes so little of it. Everything we need to know about Leren’s orientation is dealt with through her interrogations of Hugo and his allies. Her dealings with the womanizing Tom Green are truly memorable.
The Blood Promise shows Pryor’s growth as a writer. He’s upped the emotion and and character complexity with a style that calls little attention to itself. You don’t see the writing, just a hero and his friends you can’t wait to see again.
The Blood Promise will be on our shelves at BookPeople January 14. You can pre-order a signed copy via bookpeople.com. Mark Pryor reads from and signs The Blood Promise at BookPeople on Friday, January 17 at 7pm.