BETWEEN A ROCK AND NAZIS: THE DARK EDGE OF NIGHT BY MARK PRYOR
Mark Pryor introduced us to Inspector Henrei Leforts in Die Around Sundown. A police detective in German occupied Paris proved to be a great idea for a mystery protagonist and setting. In the follow up, The Dark Edge Of Night he takes the relationship between the two to deeper and darker place, putting him in a dangerous position to fight for his country or risk his position and life..
As in the first book, Leforts receives orders to take a case involving a Nazi, Dr. Victor Brandt, a missing neurologist. Already pushed into a depression by his particular view of the the part of history he is in, he reluctantly goes to work. His search for the "good" doctor moves the book from procedural to thriller as Leforts deals with brothels, European aristocracy, and the burgeoning resistance, making some nightmarish discoveries.
Pryor deftly uses the historical setting as it engages Leforts. Not only does he find historical details to provide color and authenticity, he often uses them to interact with the character. . Near the beginning of the book, Leforts witnesses soldiers accosting a baker for delivering outlawed crousuants. His decision to intervene or not will echo through the book with his future actions. The book utilizes historical figures like journalist Eric Sevareid and the reoccurring Marie Bonaparte and treats them as fully realized fictional characters instead of historical dressing.
Alan Furst has said he chose to write about World War Two Europe because everyone had to make a choice. Mark Pryor shows that process for Inspector Leforts as as he is placed in a position where a choice has to be made. The Dark Edge Of Night is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but only following books will tell if it's a beautiful on.
-review by Scott Montgomery