Today I hand over blogging duties to Mandie for her review of Extraordinary People by Peter May. Being the contrary Mary’s that we are, obviously Mandie read book seven first, so she is correcting that by starting back at the beginning of the Enzo series. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
In the first book of the Enzo Files, ex forensic scientist Enzo Macleod makes a daring wager and attempts to solve the ten-year-old case of a vanished man
An old mystery.
As midnight strikes, a man desperately seeking sanctuary flees into a church. The next day, his sudden disappearance will make him famous throughout France.
A new science.
Forensic expert Enzo Macleod takes a wager to solve the seven most notorious French murders, armed with modern technology and a total disregard for the justice system.
A fresh trail.
Deep in the catacombs below the city, he unearths dark clues deliberately set – and as he draws closer to the killer, discovers that he is to be the next victim.
LOVED EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE? Read book 2 in the series, THE CRITIC
LOVE PETER MAY? Order his new thriller, THE NIGHT GATE
Extraordinary People is the first in the Enzo Macleod series and it sees him trying to win a bet to solve seven murders that took place in France but have never been solved. The first case he looks at is that of the disappearance of a very public figure over 10 years ago. With the assistance of a journalist who also has an interest in the case he begins to piece together the man’s life and the potential clues that he encounters along the way. Initially he has the assistance and the blessing of the police but as things progress they soon make it clear that they want him to stay far away from the case. The question is, is this because he is beginning to hinder the reopened investigation or is it because he is succeeding where they failed all those years ago?
Enzo is a hard character to get to grips with at the start as although you can see that he clearly loves his younger daughter and is trying to make amends with his estranged daughter, he also comes across as a little obsessive in his work and this can make him seem stand offish. In total contrast to this however he also feels guilty when he failed to obtain a work placement for a student resulting in him taking her on as his assistant even though he is not sure how he will pay her.
What I loved about this book was the reader is taken along for the journey of the investigation as Enzo tries to work out the clues that are left with each puzzle and the snippets of history that are woven in alongside the fictional characters in the book. The clues are not straightforward and often led him down rabbit holes. Despite his knowledge and background, it is nice to have a main character that has self-doubts about his ability to solve the mystery and that he may somehow be a jinx to those closely involved especially when his own family are put in danger. The eventual reveal of the killer was not the person I was expecting nor was the reason behind the murder.
There were also some lighter moments in the book that help break up the intensity of the investigations and also encourage the reader to engage with the characters. Although I would not say that this is a fast-paced book partly due to the way the investigations are conducted at no point will you find your attention wandering. Having finally started at the beginning of the series after reading book 7 first (yes I know I am a weirdo) I am now looking forward to reading the remainder of them.
About the Author
Peter May was born and raised in Scotland. He was an award-winning journalist at the age of twenty-one and a published novelist at twenty-six. When his first book was adapted as a major drama series for the BCC, he quit journalism and during the high-octane fifteen years that followed, became one of Scotland’s most successful television dramatists. He created three prime-time drama series, presided over two of the highest-rated serials in his homeland as script editor and producer, and worked on more than 1,000 episodes of ratings-topping drama before deciding to leave television to return to his first love, writing novels.
He has won several literature awards in France, received the USA’s Barry Award for The Blackhouse, the first in his internationally bestselling Lewis Trilogy; and in 2014 was awarded the ITV Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year award for Entry Island. Peter now lives in South-West France with his wife, writer Janice Hally.