Delighted to see The Unwanted Dead by Chris Lloyd make it’s way into the world today. Having previously loved his feisty, Girona based detective, Elisenda Domènech in his Catalan Crime Thrillers series, I’m keen to meet his new creation Eddie Giral. The new book marks a departure in both country and time frame, as it’s set in Paris in 1940.
More about the book
Paris, Friday 14th June 1940.
The day the Nazis march into Paris. It made headlines around the globe.
Paris police detective Eddie Giral – a survivor of the last World War – watches helplessly on as his world changes forever.
But there is something he still has control over. Finding whoever is responsible for the murder of four refugees. The unwanted dead, who no one wants to claim.
To do so, he must tread carefully between the Occupation and the Resistance, between truth and lies, between the man he is and the man he was.
All the while becoming whoever he must be to survive in this new and terrible order descending on his home.
A Little Tempter
Two things happened on June the fourteenth, 1940.
Four men no one knew died in a railway yard and a fifth man stepped off a balcony.
There were other things that happened on June the fourteenth, 1940.
The soldiers of the 187th tank destroyers wanted to look their best as they invaded Paris, so they took a wash in the muddy waters of the Ourcq Canal, six kilometres outside the city. In a race to grab the best beds, General Bogislav von Studnitz set up shop in the Crillon Hotel, while all around him, German officers spread their dusty uniforms on the city’s finest bed linen. And in the summer sun, Wehrmacht bands honked endlessly up and down a deserted Champs-Élysées until finally a giant swastika was unfurled over the tomb of the unknown soldier just in case there was anyone left in Paris who didn’t yet know we’d lost.
But in my world, four men no one knew died in a railway yard and a fifth man stepped off a balcony.
What do others think?
In The Unwanted Dead, Chris Lloyd brings to life a Paris at the very beginning of German occupation. When four Polish refugees turn up dead, detective Eddie Giral must investigate, navigating a path between the city’s Nazi overlords, his conflicted colleagues, and his own haunted conscience. Lloyd serves up an excellent beginning to his new series. In Eddie Giral, he has created a character reminiscent of Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther, oozing with attitude and a conflicted morality that powers a complex, polished plot. Historical crime at its finest. – Vaseem Khan
The Unwanted Dead is the best kind of crime novel: gripping, thought-provoking and moving. In Detective Eddie Giral, Chris Lloyd has created a flawed hero not just for occupied Paris, but for our own times, too – someone who won’t go down without a fight, who knows justice when he sees it, and never gives up on those who can’t defend themselves. – Katherine Stansfield
Lloyd’s Second World War Paris is rougher than Alan Furst’s, and Eddie Giral, his French detective, is way edgier than Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther. But this series starter, set in the very first days of the German occupation of the French capital, ranks alongside both for its convincingly cloying atmosphere of a city subjugated to a foreign power, a plot that reaches across war-torn Europe and into the rifts in the Nazi factions, and a hero who tries to be a good man in a bad world. Powerful stuff. – Sunday Times Crime Club
Such a powerful and morally nuanced crime novel, with the bonus of an unusual and fascinating setting. I thought the book managed the difficult job of being both a gripping murder mystery and a vivid recreation of Paris under German Occupation in World War II. – Andrew Taylor
This new departure allows Chris to utilise his lifelong interest in World War 2 and resistance and collaboration in Occupied France, and I for one can’t wait to read it.
About the Author
Chris was born in an ambulance racing through a town he’s only returned to once, which probably explains a lot.
Straight after graduating in Spanish and French, he hopped on a bus from Cardiff to Catalonia where he stayed for the next twenty-odd years, first in the small and beautiful city of Girona, then in the big and beautiful city of Barcelona. He’s also lived in Bilbao, pre-empting the Guggenheim by a good few years, and in Madrid, where his love of Barcelona football club deepened. During this time, he worked as a teacher, in educational publishing, as a travel writer and as a translator. He still spends part of his day translating lofty and noble academic and arts texts.
Besides this, he also lived in Grenoble for six months, where he studied the French Resistance movement, a far deeper and more complex subject than history often teaches us and one that has fascinated him for years.
He now lives in his native Wales, where he writes crime novels and translates stuff.
He also writes the Elisenda Domènech series (Canelo) set in Girona, featuring a police officer in the devolved Catalan police force. The head of an experimental Serious Crime Unit, she fights the worst of human excesses in the most beautiful of settings.
When he’s not writing or trying to keep up with his reading pile, Chris loves travelling, languages, red wine, Wales and Barça at football, Wales at rugby, cryptic crosswords, art, rock music and losing himself in European cities. There’s not much he doesn’t like, but he’s prepared to make an exception in some cases.
He’s especially proud to be a member of the Welsh crime writing collective Crime Cymru, the Crime Writers’ Association and the Society of Authors.