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Murder in Pigalle: An Aimee Leduc Investigation    by Cara Black order for
Murder in Pigalle
by Cara Black
Order:  USA  Can
Soho, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Aimee Leduc has come a long way since she took over the family investigative agency in Paris. In this, her 14th adventure, the French sleuth is expecting. A single mother five months pregnant, Aimee's new parental instincts are piqued when a serial rapist of young girls seemingly strikes close to home.

The 14 year-old daughter of the owners of Aimee's favorite café has suddenly gone missing and the girl's parents and Aimee fear the worst. Since some of Zazie's young friends had been victims of the rapist, has she now become his latest victim? With the police reluctant to launch a full fledged investigation because Zazie hasn't been gone that long, Aimee decides she'll step in and do what must be done.

The situation gets a bit muddled when a beat cop and recently released criminal become mixed up in the case as they engage in a struggle to obtain some incriminating documents. Then one of the parents of a rape victim is gunned down in the street as she stands next to Aimee and suddenly the expectant mother is herself at risk.

To heighten the tension, Cara Black not only creates what some would call a somewhat convoluted plot with a couple of back stories, but the author also forces her characters to work in a very tight time frame. This story unfolds in three frenetic days which definitely heightens the action but also places a bit of a strain on reader credulity. I find that if I ignore the chapter headings that pinpoint the passage of time I am happier!

If you have followed this series and its central characters you'll not want to miss this latest installment. On the other hand, if you enjoy atmospheric suspense stories with exotic settings and characters and haven't yet followed Aimee Leduc around Paris, this might be the perfect time to do so. Although she lives in San Francisco, Cara Black has a very strong sense of Parisian life and culture. She has an intimate knowledge of the city and its various districts and puts this knowledge to good use in her novels.

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