The Paris Affair by Pip Drysdale, Review: Modernity’s shadow

In The Paris Affair, Pip Drysdale explores the darker side of love, modern art and social media in an iconic evocative setting. Read on for my review.

The Paris Affair by Pip Drysdale, Book Review

The Paris Affair Synopsis

She thinks love can kill you. It turns out she might be right. The dark and sexy new thriller from the bestselling author of The Sunday Girl and The Strangers We Know.

Harper Brown is an expert at picking locks, breaking her way out of car boots, talking her way out of trouble and she could run a masterclass on escaping relationships – her record for losing a guy is three minutes flat. She’s addicted to true crime podcasts and is the genius behind a micro-column called ‘How to not get murdered’.

After having her heart broken helping her ex follow his dreams, Harper has moved to Paris to fulfill hers. She’s talked her way into a job as an arts journalist, a stepping stone to her dream role as an investigative journalist. All she has to do is whatever it takes to get there. But then one night she meets the artist Noah X, and everything she thinks she knows is turned upside down.

Soon Harper finds herself entangled in a web of lies, hot on the trail of a murderer and the scoop of a lifetime. This is the story that could make her career – if the killer doesn’t catch her first.

(Simon and Schuster, February 2021)

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Romance, Crime

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The Paris Affair Review

A tough female protagonist, the iconic Parisian setting and a murder mystery set in the arts scene…. this book synopsis ticked all the right boxes for me as a reader. So my initial struggle to engage with The Paris Affair‘s narrator came as a real surprise to me.

Sure, Harper Brown has strong self-destructive tendencies, plenty of interesting leads do. It’s scar tissue from past bad experiences… I get that. The barrier for me was the ease with which she engaged in deceptive and manipulative behaviour to achieve her goals.

However, what did really appeal to me was the artistry in Drysdale depiction of her first-person narrative. The Paris Affair is almost self-consciously modern, references to different apps and hashtags liberally applied. But Harper does not simply use Instagram, she sees the world with an art appreciator’s eye and social media perspective. For example, I found her scene-setting with phrases like

the sky is the colour of denim

refreshingly efficient and her use of image filter terminology as descriptors really quite clever.

He looks drained. Greyscale.

These stylistic choices alone sustained my interest long enough for the underlying mystery plotline to take the reins.

The tension and pace escalate in this novel’s latter half, and all the red-herrings and breadcrumbs subtly dropped along the journey coalesce, delivering a gripping conclusion.

Pip Drysdale’s The Paris Affair delves into the darker side of the Parisian picture postcard moments (and indeed modern social media’s broader influences). An entertaining tale of mystery and suspense particularly suited for those lighter, escapist reading moods.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5

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More The Paris Affair Reviews

“This is a great read… It’s engaging and light enough to not have readers checking the locks before bed but also offering an underlying level of substance, including a deeper theme about social media…” –

“No doubt the depiction of the characters in this novel is true to young adults in the 2020s and I am sure they would thoroughly enjoy this storyline. It depicts a forthright, though somewhat impulsive, young woman prepared to go out on her own for a career, who finds herself in danger because of her often irresponsible behaviour.” – Queensland Reviewers Collective

“Gripping, suspenseful and seriously addictive, The Paris Affair was yet another tantalising page-turner from the wonderful Pip Drysdale.” – Better Reading

About the Author, Pip Drysdale

Pip Drysdale is a writer, musician and actor who grew up in Africa and Australia. At 20 she moved to New York to study acting, worked in indie films and off-off Broadway theatre, started writing songs and made four records. After graduating with a BA in English, Pip moved to London where she played shows across Europe. In 2015 she started writing books. Her debut novel, The Sunday Girlwas a bestseller and has been published in the United States, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Strangers We Know was also a bestseller and is being developed for television. The Paris Affair is her third book. To find out more about Pip, see, and Instagram @pipdrysdale .

This review counts toward my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2021 and the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge.

* Receiving an advanced review copy from the publisher did not impact the expression of my honest opinions above.