The Paris Directive by Gerald Jay


11 Critic Reviews

...plops a killer-for-hire down in the placid Dordogne village of Taziac to produce a mashup of cloak-and-dagger and cozy replete with murder and fine dining.


Christopher Reich: "Outstanding! A beguiling, atmospheric, and entirely entertaining novel that promises intrigue and suspense from the very first page. Inspector Mazarelle is a wonderful creation: a world weary, gimlet-eyed detective who must rouse himself for one last case. I expect to see him one day in the pantheon of greats alongside Poirot, Maigret, Brunetti and Zen." —Christopher Reich, New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Deception

In a Berlin hotel room in the late 1990s, two former French intelligence agents hire Klaus Reiner, a ruthlessly effective killer, to eliminate an American industrialist vacationing in southwestern France. Reiner easily locates his target in the small Dordogne village of Taziac, but the hit is compromised when three innocent people are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Enter Inspector Paul Mazarelle. Formerly of Paris but now living in Taziac, the inspector is charged with bringing his experience and record of success in the capital to bear on the gruesome quadruple homicide at the height of tourist season.

Both Mazarelle’s investigation and Reiner’s job become complicated when Molly, a New York City district attorney and daughter of two of the victims, arrives to identify the bodies and begins asking questions. All evidence points to Ali Sedak, a local Arab handyman, but Mazarelle and Molly have doubts, forcing Reiner to return to Taziac to ensure they see things as he arranged them. Little does anyone in the picturesque French countryside know how politically charged this crime is: its global ramifications, stemming from the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, could overshadow everything.

Tailored in crisp prose, this tantalizing and skillfully written thriller possesses all the luxury refinements of the best international intrigue. Jay’s novel chills, excites, and engrosses, pitting a smooth, calculating villain against an earthy, sympathetic Frenchman whose twilight career is suddenly heating up.

"Jay’s entertaining first novel pays homage to George Simenon and his legendary detective, Inspector Maigret.... The main draw is the charming, indomitable Inspector Mazarelle, who enjoys puffing on his old pipe, stopping for cognac in the middle of the day, and dining on sausages and lentils or his favorite dish, duck confit, at the Café Valon. Mystery fans will look forward to seeing more of him in the promised sequel." —Publishers Weekly

"Gerald Jay has woven threads of police procedural, espionage, rural noir, ‘acts of barbarism,’ and Gallic charm into a story that will be a great fit for almost any crime fan." —Booklist, starred review


About Gerald Jay

See more books from this Author
GERALD JAY is a nom de plume. He lives in New York City and is at work on a second Mazarelle novel.
Published June 19, 2012 by Vintage. 338 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Paris Directive
All: 11 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 1


Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Jun 01 2012

...plops a killer-for-hire down in the placid Dordogne village of Taziac to produce a mashup of cloak-and-dagger and cozy replete with murder and fine dining.

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Mystery Tribune

Reviewed by Mystery Tribune. on May 17 2012

...were really impressed by the quality and the elegant use of language which this author demonstrated in his book.

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Mystery Scene

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard

This is a rich, deep novel that will leave you wanting more.

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Booking Mama

Reviewed by Booking Pap Pap on Jun 08 2012 a well paced thriller that matches a skillful French investigator in the waning years of his career against a ruthless cold blooded assassin.

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Tzer Island

Reviewed by Tzer Island on Jun 20 2012

As it stands, The Paris Directive is worth reading for the chance to know Mazarelle, but not so much for the story.

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Read Me Deadly

Reviewed by SISTER MARY MURDEROUS on Jun 15 2012

An intriguing cat-and-mouse game begins between Mazarelle and Reiner, which leads to a tense and dramatic climax.

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Reviewed by Kittling: Books on Jul 21 2012

Author Gerald Jay has taken the threads of the police procedural, the spy novel, and French charm and woven them into a vastly entertaining read.

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Crime Segments Blog

Reviewed by Nancy on Jun 25 2012

Overall, the book was okay, although it might have worked a lot better for me personally had the author had made this a straight-up work of crime fiction without the political conspiracy thriller elements...

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Second Bookshelf on the Right

Reviewed by Mai on May 20 2012

Mazarelle is no Poirot or Closseau, but the way he is portrayed is very realistic. He doesn't figure things out of the blue, but he reaches conclusions logically.

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My Dad Reads Too Many Books

Below average
Reviewed by Montrose on Oct 04 2012

...Too many characters, too many murders, too many coincidences, too hard to believe.

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MBTB's Mystery Book Blog

Reviewed by Barbara Tom on Jul 14 2012

He combines two serious storylines with a good sense of place, a sense of humor, and well-rounded characters.

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Ronnie Ebbs

Ronnie Ebbs 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list