Today on Forgotten Book Friday, it's Canadian Author Appreciation Day. Since Patti Abbott is away, the participating posts will be collected and listed on Todd Mason's blog, SWEET FREEDOM.
My choice for today is SALAMANDER by J. Robert Janes. Perhaps you're familiar with Soho Press? They do wonderful, well designed (just the right size for comfortable reading) hard cover editions. Janes, a prolific Canadian author is one of theirs.
J. Robert Janes was born in Toronto and is a geologist by profession. He turned to full time writing in 1970 and now lives in the gorgeous town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.
While WWII rages, the police in Vichy France, continue to investigate everyday (and not so everyday) crime. In Paris, the work of the regular police requires an uneasy alliance.
In Janes' series, begun in 1992 with the publication of CAROUSEL, it's up to the French Inspector Jean-Louis St, Cyr of the Surete to work with his German counterpart, Gestapo officer, Herman Kohler (as unlikely a duo as you will ever meet), to solve local crimes.
In SALAMANDER, it's wholesale murder (outside of war) when a suspected serial killer ignites a fire in a crowded theater just before Christmas, killing dozens.
How St. Cyr and Kohler, two opposite numbers, are able to find a way to work together in an occupied country, says much about their own personalities, their intelligence and their tolerance for irony.
This is a story with (as you might suspect) a harsh view of the world in which these two 'cops' find themselves. There is no sugar-coating of the dark details and the historical setting is very well done. While the large scale madness of war goes on, smaller scale madmen find their own niche.
SALAMANDER is the fifth entry is the St. Cyr and Kohler series. To see a complete list of the series titles, please go here.