Inspector Lucas Rocco has finally got used to the quiet way of life in Picardie, away from his work in Paris and the organised crime he used to combat. When a petty criminal is found murdered near his village, Rocco is surprised but believes the culprit will soon be caught. He’s soon taken off the case, much to his chagrin, in order to babysit a Gabonese minister. On top of all that he finds out someone has taken out a contract on his head. Now Rocco must protect the minister and track down the assassin, before the assassin finds Rocco…
This is the first book by Adrian Magson I have read and whilst Rocco and the Nightingale is the latest in a series it can easily be read without having read any of the other novels.
I loved the setting of the novel, both the location and the time period. It played like a black and white 60’s French movie in my head. I could image the countryside, the Citroens and mopeds driving through villages, the older village women, the cafes filled with men smoking and drink coffee and the young women with their sixties clothes and gamine hair cuts. Whilst there was violence in the story this seemed tempered by the time period. There was a more laid back atmosphere to the book, concentrated more on old fashioned detective work and less on forensics, though these were touched upon.
All the characters were well drawn. Rocco was a likeable character, interesting to read. It was clear he had some history, history that now shaped his present, but he came across as a fair minded and fair handed man, someone who may not be afraid to bend the rules but would do so only for the right reasons. The relationship between Rocco and his colleagues was a pleasure to read and I could see how they could possibly develop in the future.
The crime itself is slightly different in that we know who has committed the murder and we hear from the assassin throughout the story. It is very much a cat and mouse tale but at some point the cat, unknowingly becomes the mouse.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rocco and the Nightingale. Whilst I would like to read about a past Rocco, seen in Adrian Magson’s previous novels, I do hope that there will be the opportunity read more about present Rocco in the future.