This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
17.09.20 / Historical Thriller / Orion Books / Hardback / 464pp / 978-1409190288
Hello everyone and thanks for coming to check out another fantastic book excerpt shared with me from Orion Books. The Unwanted Dead is an interesting and tense police thriller taking place in occupied France. I have started reading and it is so unbelievably on edge from the very first page. See for yourself below as my post today shares the first chapter which perfect sets the scene for the whole novel. I will first share a few details about the book then onto the extract. Enjoy!
About The Unwanted Dead
Paris, Friday 14th June 1940.
The day the Nazis march into Paris. It made headlines around the globe.
Paris police detective Eddie Giral – a survivor of the last World War – watches helplessly on as his world changes forever.
But there is something he still has control over. Finding whoever is responsible for the murder of four refugees. The unwanted dead, who no one wants to claim.
To do so, he must tread carefully between the Occupation and the Resistance, between truth and lies, between the man he is and the man he was.
All the while becoming whoever he must be to survive in this new and terrible order descending on his home.
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The Unwanted Dead – Extract
Friday 14th June 1940
Two things happened on June the fourteenth, 1940. Four men no one knew died in a railway yard and a fifth man stepped off a balcony. There were other things that happened on June the fourteenth, 1940. The soldiers of the 187th tank destroyers wanted to look their best as they invaded Paris, so they took a wash in the muddy waters of the Ourcq Canal, six kilometres outside the city. In a race to grab the best beds, General Bogislav von Studnitz set up shop in the Crillon Hotel, while all around him, German officers spread their dusty uniforms on the city’s finest bed linen. And in the summer sun, Wehrmacht bands honked endlessly up and down a deserted Champs-Élysées until finally a giant swastika was unfurled over the tomb of the unknown soldier just in case there was anyone left in Paris who didn’t yet know we’d lost. But in my world, four men no one knew died in a railway yard and a fifth man stepped off a balcony.
‘Christ, what a stink,’ Auban cursed.
‘Show some respect, Detective,’ I told him. A bruiser in the right-wing leagues who’d brawled his way through the thirties, Auban was tough and muscular. Even in the growing heat of a summer morning, he dressed in a way that wouldn’t let you forget that, a heavy leather jacket over a white shirt so tight as to show off his chest. He glared at me and turned away.
‘This way, Inspector Giral,’ he said through gritted teeth. His usual cocksure insolence was now suffused with a fear he couldn’t hide. I glanced to either side of me and knew why. Lined up along the railway embankment were row upon row of German soldiers. A gauntlet of faceless figures that had watched me pick my way along the soot-greased sleepers of the marshalling yard to where Auban was waiting for me. They hadn’t shifted a centimetre in all that time. The ones on the right partially obscured the low sun, their long shadows curling across the oil and grime of the railway yard, picking us out as we walked. To the left, hard young faces in bitter contrast stared impassively. I could make out an officer barely fifty metres away looking intently at me, his face expressionless. They were the first Germans I saw that day, some of the first to enter the city. They watched us now in silence, their machine guns pointing at the ground, the grey of their battle dress soaking the black clouds out of the sky.
‘They been here all the time?’ I asked Auban. He nodded. We set off towards a group of half a dozen uniformed police waiting for us by some goods trucks. The normally bustling railway yard to the south of Gare d’Austerlitz was unnaturally quiet. No trains moved in or out. We picked our way through rubbish strewn along the tracks. In the streets nearby and all over the city, it had lain uncollected for weeks, left to rot while the Germans advanced on Paris and refuse was the least of anyone’s worries.
Auban was right. It did stink. A smell of death and decay in the air. Whether it was the scene that I knew awaited me or the city itself, I couldn’t decide. Under the scrutiny of the German soldiers, we walked past a dead dog lying on the jumble of tracks, its tongue swollen and lolling, its eyes wide open in panic. Flies rose and fell in a putrescent murmuration. I faltered for a moment. There was another smell, faint but acrid, lying underneath – like bitter pineapple doused in black pepper. Only it was different from how I’d remembered it. I shook my head to get rid of it.
About Chris Lloyd
Straight after graduating in Spanish and French, Chris Lloyd hopped on a bus from Cardiff to Catalonia and stayed there for over twenty years. He has also lived in Grenoble – researching the French Resistance movement – as well as in the Basque Country and Madrid, where he taught English and worked in educational publishing and as a travel writer. He now lives in South Wales and is a translator and novelist. Lloyd is also the author of the Elisenda Domènech crime series, featuring a police officer with the newly-devolved Catalan police force. The result of his lifelong interest in World War 2 and resistance and collaboration in Occupied France, The Unwanted Dead is his first novel set in Paris, featuring Detective Eddie Giral.
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