Review: The Paris Vendetta (Cotton Malone #5) by Steve Berry

Review: The Paris Vendetta (Cotton Malone #5) by Steve BerryThe Paris Vendetta by Steve Berry
Series: Cotton Malone #5
Published by Random House Publishing Group on December 1, 2009
Pages: 256
Goodreads |

When Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile in 1821, he took to the grave a powerful secret. As general and emperor, he had stolen immeasurable riches from palaces, national treasuries, and even the Knights of Malta and the Vatican. In his final days, his British captors hoped to learn where the loot lay hidden. But he told them nothing, and in his will he made no mention of the treasure. Or did he?

Former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone isn't looking for trouble when it comes knocking at his Copenhagen bookshop. Actually, it breaks and enters in the form of an American Secret Service agent with a pair of assassins on his heels. Malone has his doubts about the anxious young man, but narrowly surviving a ferocious firefight convinces him to follow his unexpected new ally.

Their first stop is the secluded estate of Malone's good friend, Henrik Thorvaldsen. The wily Danish tycoon has uncovered the insidious plans of the Paris Club, a cabal of multimillionaires bent on manipulating the global economy. Only by matching wits with a terrorist-for-hire, foiling a catastrophic attack, and plunging into a desperate hunt for Napoleon's legendary lost treasure can Malone hope to avert international financial anarchy.But Thorvaldsen's real objective is much more personal: to avenge the murder of his son by the larcenous aristocrat at the heart of the conspiracy. Thorvaldsen's vendetta places Malone in an impossible quandary—one that forces him to choose between friend and country, past and present.

Starting in Denmark, moving to England, and ending up in the storied streets and cathedrals of Paris, Malone plays a breathless game of duplicity and death, all to claim a prize of untold value. But at what cost?

This is my least favorite book that Berry has written. I was not impressed.

My first gripe here is that Cotton felt more like a supporting character than a main character. Though he was in the book a lot he was never really developed as a main character. He just was *there*. His story never advanced.

With that being said, The Paris Vendetta was more Henrik’s book than anything else. But this wasn’t the Henrik that we’ve come to know and love throughout the series. Revenge motivates this Henrik. If revenge has stewed inside of him since his son’s death, why hasn’t it even been alluded to in the earlier books? It came along and smacked us in the face. It almost seems like View Spoiler » I’m disappointed because I really enjoyed Henrik and Cotton’s friendship. Henrik jumps to a lot of conclusions about Cotton and they never really get resolved. It left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I believe The Paris Vendetta is responsible for my reading slump. It took me a month to read it. A month. That’s unheard of for me. The premise of the story had promise. The Paris Club stages terrorist attacks for financial gain. That’s the kind of story that seems like a page turner. But I can’t help but feel like the Rommel’s gold addition at the beginning of the story was there to add intrigue. It didn’t really do anything to advance the story after it was found. The Napoleon treasure, though, is a different story. It was interesting but I feel like Berry didn’t do enough with it. Cotton was never really invested in the mystery so I didn’t really care either.

The helicopter/plane scenes in Paris were thrilling. That’s when I started reading faster. But overall, I was just disappointed. The narrative felt disjointed. I also felt like it relied on too many cheesy spy novel tactics. Someone was wearing an intricate disguise and pulled this mask off his head to reveal who he really was. *Eye roll*

The next Cotton Malone book better be pure magic because the only reason I’ll read it is because I’m invested in the series. If I weren’t invested in it, The Paris Vendetta would have killed it for me.



© 2014, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.