Blowback: Book summary and reviews of Blowback by Peter May

Blowback

Enzo Files Series

by Peter May

Blowback by Peter May X
Blowback by Peter May
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  • Published Mar 2011
    250 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

When France's top chef, Marc Fraysse, summoned the world's press to make a shattering announcement, rumors abounded that he was about to lose one of his three coveted Michelin stars.  Instead, on arrival at his remote restaurant on a volcanic plateau in central France, they were greeted with the news that the troubled genius had been murdered, and the message he intended to deliver was never made.  Seven years on, the identity of his killer also remains an enigma.

Enzo Macleod takes on his fifth cold case and delves into the big business and high stakes of French haute cuisine.  As winter sets in, and snow gathers along a volcanic horizon, he retraces long cold footsteps across a remote hilltop.  But unravelling the complex web of relationships that surrounded the brilliant and mercurial chef - a spurned lover, a jealous wife, an estranged brother, an embittered food critic--also leads to strange parallels with his own life.  And in opening up this celebrated cold case, he finds himself reopening old wounds from his past.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Caught up in the various threads, readers are lulled into a false sense of knowing where the tale is heading until May pulls the rug out from under them. Those who enjoy mysteries with a Gallic flavor will snap this one up." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. May's flair for narrative, characterization and evocative descriptions of various locales and historic tidbits makes his formulaic whodunit fresh and delightfully readable - catnip for armchair sleuths." - Kirkus

This information about Blowback was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

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Cloggie Downunder

an enjoyable read
Blow Back is the fifth book in the Enzo Macleod Investigation series by Scottish journalist, screenwriter and author, Peter May. Having achieved more than the French police had managed to with four of Roger Raffin’s cold cases, Enzo Macleod heads to the auberge at Saint-Pierre that houses Chez Fraysse, a Michelin-three-starred restaurant.

Unlike the reception he received with earlier cases, he is made welcome by both the young Gendarme, Dominique Chazal, and the victim’s widow and older brother: all claim that their most fervent desire is for Enzo to solve the murder of celebrity chef, Marc Fraysse. On his customary afternoon run, seven and a half years earlier, Marc was shot dead in a buron on the ridge track, his mobile phone missing. But not everyone at Chez Fraysse seems happy with Enzo’s presence.

Elisabeth Fraysse maintains that Marc was loved by all, had no enemies except for the food critic who made public a rumour that Marc was about to lose a star. Dominique tells Enzo she was unimpressed with the detective high fliers who came to investigate. Finding Marc’s laptop still in his bureau, Enzo concludes she may be right. Incredibly, it seems that investigators, when they did not find a document stating in 36-point font “My killer is XX”, looked no further. Enzo does, with an interesting result.

Enzo has set up someone on staff to helpfully provide inside information, although that backfires in an unexpected manner. The gossip thus garnered does provide three possible suspects; perusal of the draft of Marc’s memoir yields further motives; and a certain compulsive vice of Marc’s points to yet more.

As usual, Enzo attracts a woman: this one conveniently owns the sniffer dog that comes in handy later. There’s an attempt on his life, a couple of trips to Paris, some welcome and some unwelcome news about his daughter, Kirsty, and a favour called in from a documents expert. Three young women press Enzo to demand access to the baby son he has not yet seen.

While it’s true the setting is a gourmet restaurant with a seventy-thousand bottle cellar, Enzo waxes lyrical about meals and wines so many times that it does get just a bit tedious. And it seems odd that Enzo only reads the earlier parts of Marc’s memoir (which, incidentally set him off on uncomfortable reminiscences of his own) when the most recent might have provided more relevant information.

Despite a few plot holes, this is still an enjoyable read: there are plenty of red herrings (not all of them convincing) in the lead up to a dramatic climax that involves guns, quite a bit of spilled wine and broken glass, and the twist is excellent. The next instalment, Cast Iron is eagerly anticipated.

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Author Information

Peter May Author Biography

Photo: Domi Photographe

Peter May won the Scottish Young Journalist of the Year Award at the age of 21, and had his first novel published at 26. He then left journalism and became one of Scotland's most successful and prolific television dramatists. By the age of 30 he had created two major TV series, The Standard and Squadron, for the British television network, the BBC. He went on to gather more than 1000 TV credits in fifteen years, creating and writing major drama serials for both BBC and ITV in the UK: including the ground-breaking Gaelic serial Machair, which he also produced.

Returning now to novels, the six novels in his outstanding China Thrillers series have won critical acclaim. To research the series, Peter May makes annual trips to China. With an extraordinary network of contacts, he ...

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