Paperbacks: The Woman in the Fifth, by Douglas Kennedy

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The Independent Culture

Douglas Kennedy, the bestselling author of a series of highbrow Anglo-American romances, started out in fiction as a thriller writer. This novel reprises his earlier work with an existential drama set in one of Paris's less salubrious arrondissements. Harry Ricks, like many Kennedy's protagonists, is a man on the run.

The disgraced professor arrives at the Gare du Nord armed with a laptop and $5,000. He takes a job as a nightwatchman for a Turkish gangmaster, saving for a regular cinq-à-sept with an enigmatic Hungarian émigrée. Nothing is as it seems in a noirish thriller which owes a debt to fellow flâneurs Georges Simenon and Henry Miller.

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