She thinks love can kill you. It turns out she might be right. The dark and sexy new thriller from the bestselling author of The Sunday Girl and The Strangers We Know.
Harper Brown is an expert at picking locks, breaking her way out of car boots, talking her way out of trouble and she could run a masterclass on escaping relationships - her record for losing a guy is three minutes flat. She’s addicted to true crime podcasts and is the genius behind a micro-column called ‘How to not get murdered’.
After having her heart broken helping her ex follow his dreams, Harper has moved to Paris to fulfill hers. She’s talked her way into a job as an arts journalist, a stepping stone to her dream role as an investigative journalist. All she has to do is whatever it takes to get there. But then one night she meets the artist Noah X, and everything she thinks she knows is turned upside down.
Soon Harper finds herself entangled in a web of lies, hot on the trail of a murderer and the scoop of a lifetime. This is the story that could make her career - if the killer doesn’t catch her first.
An edge-of-your-seat thriller set in Paris
The Paris Affair is an edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller set amidst the contemporary art scene in Paris.
Harper Brown is a British journalist in her late 20s, working as an arts-culture columnist for a Paris online magazine, The Paris Observer. Her ambition is to succeed as an investigative crime journalist, a goal she's pursuing doggedly after wasting years supporting a former partner, a musician, who dumped her as soon as his band found success. Her love of true-crime podcasts has enabled her to amass an intriguing armoury of self-preservation and crime-busting skills, detailed through her blog How Not to Get Murdered.
When she attempts to obtain a somewhat unorthodox preview of a new art exhibition at a private gallery, she has no idea that she'll soon be putting theory into action, drawn into a complex web of murder, suspicion and intrigue in the underground art trade.
Although billed as a mystery-thriller, it wasn't until about the one-third point of the book that the psychological tension took hold. Up to that point, Harper struck me as a rather pathetic and self-absorbed character, stuck in a behavioural rut. With no apparent sense of irony, she uses her resentment for the way she was manipulated by her former partner Harrison to justify her ruthless treatment of any potential future partners. Meanwhile, she's unable to resist the temptation of stalking him and his new partner online.
The action really picks up after she meets beguiling American artist Noah X., and accepts an invitation to attend a party at his Montmartre apartment. She's among the last to see Noah's life model, Sabine, alive before she disappears and is found dead in woodland outside Paris. Sabine's death mirrors the circumstances surrounding the recent death of another young Parisian woman, and Harper senses that she might be in the perfect position to write a career-making scoop! Harper's investigative techniques are not quite as subtle as she thinks, however, and she soon realises that she's caught the attention of some very shady characters, who'll stop at nothing to protect their secrets.
The story gathers momentum towards a dizzying crescendo as Harper races against time to prove Noah's innocence and identify the real killer or killers.
The Paris Affair was a quick and enjoyable read, with an engaging storyline and a glamorous setting. Pip Drysdale uses misdirection and suspense skilfully to create an edge-of-your-seat final act.
I hadn't read anything by Pip Drysdale previously, and feel I'm a bit late to the party! My enjoyment of The Paris Affair was such that I'll be seeking out her other titles soon. I'd recommend it to all readers who enjoy spunky female protagonists and lots of action in their thriller reads.
My thanks to the author, Pip Drysdale, publisher Simon & Schuster Australia and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.