Paris Immortal, by S. Roit

Today’s small press is Snowbooks, medical a London-based publisher with a slightly different business model. Each book is shepherded through the process (acquisition, bronchitis editing, medic design, etc.) by one person; they publish around 20 books a year and it takes several months to get a book through the process. If one’s book gets published by Snowbooks, then obviously someone on their staff loved it enough to live with it for several months. S. Roit, who is female and named Sherry, lives in Seattle, Washington, and has published at least one other novel (the sequel to this one); a third is due in the middle of next year.

Trey du Bois is a lawyer, recently moved from the United States to Paris, to work for what’s apparently a branch of an American law firm there. He was brought in specifically to see to M. Michel Lecureaux’s account, as Trey’s French is nearly perfect. M. Lecureaux and his husband, M. Gabriel (Duvernoy) Lecureaux, are Trey’s only clients. They are, of course, incredibly beautiful and incredibly mysterious; while they invite Trey to socialize with them on a regular basis, he knows nearly nothing about them personally — their ages, names of family members, or what the inside of their house looks like. Of course, with the amount of money he’s making and the perks, Trey doesn’t really care about his lack of information — until someone starts following him and asking questions.

This is a slow-moving book; we see a great deal of Trey’s life over the short period of time that the book covers. It certainly isn’t boring, though; there are enough events and enough elisions of non-vital happenings to make it interesting. Trey goes to work; he goes out dancing; he goes to Monte Carlo for a few days; he wanders around Paris; and he eats at a cafe several times. While the book is nearly 400 pages long and there are very few flashbacks, there are some scenes that we see from two different points of view; there are also many scenes wherein Trey monologues as his way to work out what’s going on in his head. Fortunately, he’s an interesting narrator with a very strong voice, so these scenes are enjoyable.

The second point of view in the story is Michel Lecureaux’s; we see him at important points or situations that the reader needs to know but Trey can’t possibly. As such, we know certain facts about the Lecureauxes before Trey does, and it shifts the dramatic tension somewhat. That having been said, I generally assume that most people either read the back of the book (or the inside cover flap) or reviews on the internet before reading a book, so readers starting this book will probably know those same certain facts about the Lecureauxes before Trey does. (Also, you know, perhaps readers who are looking for clues, because it’s fairly obvious if one knows what one is looking for.)

The main tension in this book — apart from the dramatic tension — is sexual tension. Holy cow, this is a hot book. While very little is shown on screen, Trey is attracted to several different people, and seeing them through his eyes is an experience. Each of them moves him in different ways, and he spends a great deal of the book thinking about sex with them. (Trey is bisexual, by the way.) The heat builds slowly over such a long period of time that it nearly made me sweat. I won’t say this book is perfect — for one thing, Trey has a mild physical condition that seems largely contrived to me. However, it is an amazing work of sense, tone, and atmosphere. For readers who are looking for a story with a good deal of movement and action (of the physical kind), this is not that book. For readers who would like to read an oddly languorous sensual romp through Paris with beautiful men and women and lovely scenery, this is precisely it. 4/5 stars.

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