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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start to the series...
Set in Paris, this thriller from Peter May is the first to feature forensic scientist Enzo Macleod. A Scot now living in Cahors in France, Enzo takes on a bet with some friends that, using new scientific methods of detection, he will be able to solve the mystery of the disappearance a decade earlier of brilliant university teacher Jacques Gaillard. What starts as an...
Published on 17 Sep 2011 by FictionFan

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Read
Found this book interesting, but not riveting. The main character was appealing and there was a smattering of humour to amuse the reader. May, as usual knew the country and people well and described the locations in great detail. However I felt the plot was pretty far fetched and hard to believe. I also felt the storyline was slow in places and found I was starting to...
Published 14 months ago by M. Harris


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start to the series..., 17 Sep 2011
By 
FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Set in Paris, this thriller from Peter May is the first to feature forensic scientist Enzo Macleod. A Scot now living in Cahors in France, Enzo takes on a bet with some friends that, using new scientific methods of detection, he will be able to solve the mystery of the disappearance a decade earlier of brilliant university teacher Jacques Gaillard. What starts as an interesting intellectual puzzle soon turns into a full-blown thriller as Enzo begins to uncover a conspiracy involving some of the elite of French political and academic life.

While all the standard elements of the thriller are here - clues, conspiracies, chases, danger - what raises Peter May's novels above the average is the sense of place he conveys, based on what is clearly meticulous research. This book takes us on a journey through France and each place is described with a deft touch that lets us get to know it without being overwhelmed by unnecessary detail. Much of the book is set in Paris and, while showing us the city that any tourist will recognise, May also goes deeper, giving us insights into the workings of the structures and systems that produce the top people in government and commerce. He also uses his fine descriptive writing and eye for detail to paint a vivid picture of the catacombs that exist beneath the city.

As often happens in the first of a series, it took some time for all the characters to be introduced and for their back-stories to be filled out and this made the early part of the book a little slow. I also felt that sometimes the way Enzo was able to work out the clues in the plot seemed a bit too easy - coincidence came into play a little too often. I didn't enjoy this quite as much as I did May's China thrillers (the first of which is The Firemaker) or the first book in his new trilogy set on Lewis (The Blackhouse), but nonetheless I thought it was a good read with engaging characters and will certainly go on to read the next in the Enzo Files series.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A suspenseful hunt through France, 4 Feb 2009
By 
L. J. Roberts (Oakland, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
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First Sentence: He finds himself in a cobbled courtyard, breath hissing back at him from buttressed walls.

Enzo Macleod left his first wife, daughter Katie and job as a career in forensics in Scotland and is now a teacher in Cahors, France and father to Sophie after losing her mother in childbirth. He is trying to reconnect with Katie, now living in Paris and is worried about 18-year-old Sophie and her boyfriend. He has accepted a high-stakes bet from his childhood friend, Simon, now a lawyer, to solve a 10-year-old closed case.

Jacques Guillard was a graduate of the prestigious Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA), and an advisor to the Prime Minster when his book on the History of French Cinema caused him to be `instructed' to become an teacher at ENA. Then, he disappeared.

Now, due to construction in Paris, a tin truck has been unearthed containing a skull and several other items which lead him on a path to other trunks, more bodies and, possibly, his own death.

This is the first in a new series of Enzo File books by Peter May in which the protagonist works to solve cold cases. There were quite a few characters in the story. While each was distinguishable in their own right, there wasn't as much character development as I'd have liked beyond the protagonist. I did like that Enzo did not operate completely on his own but that others participated in uncovering the meanings behind the clues. I also liked that he wasn't Mr. Macho and occasionally had too-stupid-to-live moments, which added to the suspense.

The story is interspersed with delightful, humanly comedic scenes. There are a lot of coincidences but the story was engrossing enough that I forgave them. There is a graphic sex scene but it does serve a purpose. The story takes place in a lot of different locations around France, but I felt the sense of place could have been stronger. The author has included fascinating historical information without overpowering or disrupting the story. There is, however, a huge hole in the plot, which did bother me and a geographic inaccuracy which better editing should have caught.

There is some very good suspense, particularly toward the end. The story had some very good twists. I didn't realize the villain even though I probably should have. All-in-all, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more Enzo Files books.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant read!, 20 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Extraordinary People (The Enzo Files Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I fell across Peter May with a 65p offer on the first of his Lewis novels and was immediately dragged in to the culture and close community of the island. Here we have a book in a similar sort of vein with a slightly broader canvas for him to paint his story on; France. Knowing some of Enzo's haunts heightens the enjoyment and I must admit to following in his footsteps with the help of Google streets on at least a couple of occasions to help get my bearings. As with his other books, there's always some little known (well, to me at least) piece of cultural or social history which threads its way through the tail. The characters are finely drawn, the places, as mentioned, are well described and precise. An intriguing plot line with several twists makes for a very enjoyable story.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and atmospheric, 7 May 2014
By 
Bookie (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Extraordinary People (The Enzo Files Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Peter May has a proven track record in crafting a series of stories based on a central character. What's truly extraordinary is the diversity of his characters and their locations. Whether it's the Outer Hebrides of the Lewis trilogy, the Far East in the China series or the Canada of Entry Island, you know you're off on a non stop journey of excitement.

Extraordinary People is the first in a series of stories featuring Italian Scot, Enzo Macleod. He's no relation to Fin Macleod in the Lewis books! A former forensic scientist, he now lives in France and has an interesting backstory involving personal loss. He's a complex, plausible and likeable character, doesn't suffer fools gladly and dislikes petty beauracracy. He's inclined to bravado and as a result of a bet, ends up reviewing cold cases. He's ill prepared for the dangers he's forced to confront as he embarks on a search for body parts.

As always with Peter May's books, there's a strong sense of location. The French countryside is described with colour and life. His Paris is real and the catacombs running beneath the city are described in chilling detail.

The plot is intricate and cerebral; the readers challenge is to determine the difference between the red herrings and the clues. I really enjoyed every turn of a fast paced ride which has an outstanding finale. I'm lucky, it's the first book I've read in this series so I still have the pleasure of the later books and I'm really looking forward to them.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Read, 22 Sep 2013
By 
M. Harris "Alive n Kicking" (Prestwick) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Extraordinary People (The Enzo Files Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Found this book interesting, but not riveting. The main character was appealing and there was a smattering of humour to amuse the reader. May, as usual knew the country and people well and described the locations in great detail. However I felt the plot was pretty far fetched and hard to believe. I also felt the storyline was slow in places and found I was starting to skip pages. Not on a par with the Lewis Trilogy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sorry Folks, I rather liked this, 8 April 2012
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If readers are expecting another novel a la the lugubrious Fin Macleod Lewis Trilogy , think again, or you will be disappointed. This is an entertaining romp through France - a completely different sort of whodunnit to the aforementioned, a change of style which I very much enjoyed. There is no rule that says that authors must always write in the same way in the same genre, and Peter May demonstrates that it is possible to produce two very different types of book which can be equally satisfying to read. So perhaps Enzo isn't really very likeable as extremely clever people often aren't; neither is Sherlock Holmes but that is no reason for condemning Conan Doyle. Equally, the plot is far fetched, but much wittier and better drafted than Dan Brown, and I didn't guess the twist in the plot until nearly the end. If you want a light, easy going book which offers a good plot and a nice byline into French life this is for you. If you want more Fin Macleod - look to Scandinavia.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Excellent Read, 2 July 2013
By 
Columbyne (Devon, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Extraordinary People (The Enzo Files Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
If, like me, you are a Peter May addict, then you will have been waiting impatiently for the 'Enzo' series having read the Lewis trilogy and the China novels with huge enjoyment. Extraordinary People introduces us to the Italian Scot Enzo Macleod. In true Peter May fashion, Enzo is a character full of flaws with a complicated personal life, and who is of course an expert at solving murders. I found myself getting to know and to like Enzo very much as the book progressed, as well as loving the beautiful descriptions of France, from someone intimately acquainted with the country towns in the South West as well as possessing a superb knowledge of Paris itself.The plot is good, ingenious, sweeping one along until, on reaching the end of the book, one has become completely hooked and is desperate to purchase the next one! Enjoy :)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 17 Oct 2013
By 
K. Allen (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Extraordinary People (The Enzo Files Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I thoroughly enjoyed it. Far-fetched maybe, but it doesn't have to be 'real' to be a good read. This is very different from the Lewis Trilogy, but still intelligently written with a real sense of France. I am looking forward to reading more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only so-so, 11 Aug 2014
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Extraordinary People (The Enzo Files Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Not as intense as the Lewis trilogy this effort is a rather lightweight Dan Brownish puzzler that serves to send the motley crew to various locations in France rather in the style of a travelogue. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad book, the characters are believable, all too human and there are enough sharp and witty pieces of interaction to keep the plot bubbling along. It's just that the plot itself is rather light and unbelievable and almost gets in the way of the budding and failing relationships described here. It's almost as if the author was intent on getting as many of his favourite locations squeezed into the book for spurious reasons and the plot then has to catch up. Some of the action, particularly at the end is a bit plodding as well but nevertheless I do recommend you read this book as the next book in the series is a vast improvement but you will need to start with this book to get all the nuances that follow.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get to know Enzo-you will like him!, 25 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Extraordinary People (The Enzo Files Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Well written and a fast flowing engaging French romp from start to finish. May gives the reader an insight into many aspects of French life in an engaging way and introduces Enzo-a Scotsman living in the south of France who becomes the likeable detective. Well worth a read and a good holiday book that will grip from the start.
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