The Woman in the Fifth
HARRY RICKS is a bad man to cross. Bad things happen to those who do him wrong.
He's also a haunted man, on the run in Paris after blowing his suburban life to bits. Behind him in the rubble are a marriage (defunct), a lover (dead by suicide) and a career (casualty of events).
He's as far down as he can fall. Or so he thinks. But one consolation: for years, he's taken French classes, planning to give it all up one day and go to Paris to write.
It's a gripping story, but forgettable, because of the coldness and dislikeability of every character but one.
In Paris, Harry falls ill and is selflessly aided by a kindly Turk, who is almost immediately written out of the story.
After that, Harry finds night work with nasty people doing something unknown but probably unspeakable. He takes a foray into a literary salon for some hostile flirting with a mystery woman from the classy Fifth Arrondissement, who soon comes to play all too important a part in his life.
The novel follows every rule of storytelling: every event torques the horror up; every page has a new surprise, a twist.
We may expect to see it on the screen any day soon.