Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Button Man (Hugo Marston #4) by Mark Pryor


Hugo takes a short cut through a cemetery, late at night.  As he admires the old stones and reads what he can see in the moonlight, he suddenly notices something out of place.  Someone is hanging from a tree limb in a noose.  Is it suicide or murder?

Seventh Street Books sent me an ARC of this book to read for review (thank you).  It has just been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Mr. Pryor has taken Hugo back to the beginning of his career in London.  He makes Hugo seem fresher and not so cynical.  I think I like him better in this story than I did in the others.  Or maybe it was the plot that drew me in.

Hugo calls the police and goes back to the embassy.  He's surprised to find that the body belongs to a woman he was supposed to be "babysitting".  She got out of jail early and before they locate her to take her to a safe place, she was dead.  Hugo doesn't think it was suicide.  His assignment is not off to a good start.

He does pick up the husband and takes him home with him.  It's as safe a place as any to hide him.  He has the terrible task of telling the man his wife is dead.  It destroys the husband.  He may be a big movie star, but he loved his wife.

Here is where things start to go south.  The husband takes off.  He intends to visit the father of the man they ran over by accident and apologize personally.  When Hugo and the cop get there, the father is dying of bullet wounds and mentions Harper's name.  Does this mean Harper killed him?

As the story goes on, the body count goes up.  Hugo knows there must be a common denominator, but he's not finding it.  In the meantime, he has a young woman helping him that knows of a place where S&M and B&D are practiced and the stars had visited there.  He keeps following little cobwebs of trails around hoping to find a connection to a killer.

There's plenty of action, lots of clues, and the ending is unusual.  That seems to be a trademark of Mr. Pryor's.  He never does it easy; it's always complicated and ironic.  I like it.

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