Current Reading: The Black Jersey by Jorge Zepeda Patterson

The Black Jersey by Jorge Zepeda Patterson, Random House 2019 hardcover / ebook, mystery, 314 pages.

Every July, for years now, we watch the Tour de France on TV. In addition to seeing the beautiful French countryside, mountains and villages, there is the race itself. Highly skilled professional cyclists give their all for a stage win, or even to win the yellow jersey and stand on the podium in Paris at the end of the grueling two week race. Each year we get to know some of the cyclists and teams as we watch and cheer on our favorites.

So when I saw this new novel, which takes place at the Tour, I couldn’t resist.

Marc Moreau, a professional cyclist with a military past, is part of a top Tour de France team led by his best friend, an American star favored to win this year’s Tour. But the competition takes a dark turn when racers begin to drop out in a series of violent accidents: a mugging that ends in a broken ankle, a nasty bout of food poisoning, and a crash caused by two spectators standing where they shouldn’t. The teams and their entourages retreat into paranoia, but they must continue racing each day. The mountain inclines grow steeper and the accidents turn deadlier: a suspicious suicide, an exploded trailer, a loose wheel at the edge of a cliff. Marc, an ex-M.P., agrees to help the French police with their investigations from the inside and becomes convinced that the culprit is a cyclist who wants to win at any cost. But as the victim count rises, the number of potential murderers—and potential winners—dwindles.

Marc soon begins to realize that his team has been helped the most by the murderer’s actions, and in the final stages of the race Mark himself emerges as the only cyclist left who could possibly beat his best friend and win the Tour.

I liked this a lot, and I learned a good deal about the race, in spite of following it for several years. Whether or not you’re interested in pro cycling, you might consider this one.

Meanwhile, what are you reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Mystery. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Current Reading: The Black Jersey by Jorge Zepeda Patterson

  1. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    Glad you liked it but pro cycling is to me is about as interesting as shuffleboard.
    Am finishing up Nothing’s Bad Luck a biography of Warren Zevon. Before that I read We Were Killers Once by Becky Masterson which was okay but not great and Mr. Know It All by John Waters which I enjoyed a lot. Next up The Knife by Jo Nesbo with new books by Adrian McKinty, Ace Atkins, and Peter Lovesey on deck.

  2. tracybham says:

    I like the idea of this one, even though I have never followed cycling. I am going to enjpy hearing about some of the books you have coming up. I just finished one of Peter Lovesey’s earlier books in the Peter Diamond series, The Summons.

  3. Patti Abbott says:

    THE NEED by Helen Philips, which is quite scary.

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I like the cover. Lance Armstrong killed my interest in the Tour. I agree about the countryside.

    I read WANDERERS, Chuck Wendig’s 800 page end of the world book, and Jackie is reading it now, though she is having a lot of trouble holding it up to read. Then read Paula Fox’s 1970 DESPERATE CHARACTERS, about a 40 year old “pioneer” (as they were called then) couple in Brooklyn Heights and their seemingly disintegrating marriage. I read Peter Orner’s collection LAST CAR OVER THE SAGAMORE BRIDGE. Most of his stories are very short, like two pages short. Lastly, I finished Margaret Mizushima’s third Timber Creek (Colorado) K-9 mystery, HUNTING GROUND, this time with a very personal connection to major characters in the series.

    I’m reading Orner’s new collection, MAGGIE BROWN & OTHERS, and the first in Wendig’s Miriam Black series, BLACKBIRDS. If Miriam Black touches someone, she sees when and how they will die, a curse rather than a blessing. So far, so good. I like Wendig’s writing and also have his short story collection, IRREGULAR CREATURES.

  5. I’ve been doing a lot of reading during the Heat Wave here. I’m planning a couple of Theme Weeks for my blog so that requires some planning and advance reading. I’m also working in my basement (because it’s cool) and the result is another dozen boxes of books ready for donation at SUNY at Buffalo’s Special Libraries. I’m also sorting through the professional books I used when I was teaching. I won’t be using them again so I’ll need to decide where to dispose of them.

  6. Jerry House says:

    There is a magic and aura to cycling and to auto racing that I have never been able to embrace. Not my cuppa, I fear. I’m much more interested in watching the wind waft through the trees.

    As for reading, I finished Eric Frank Russell’s THREE TO CONQUER (aka CALL HIM DEAD), a nift mid-Fifties Sf classic and one of my FFBs this week. I am also done with my Lester del Rey reading jag, having finished his non-fiction books ROCKETS THROUGH SPACE and THE MYSTERIOUS EARTH; I’m currently reading his SF novel PSTALEMATE, which will effectively wrap up current reading frenzy.

    I began a new reading obsession, stories from the British SF magazine NEW WORLDS (from both the Carnell and Moorcock eras): Carnell’s THE BEST FROM NEW WORLDS SCIENCE FICTION (1955) and Moorcok’s THE BEST OF NEW WORLDS (1965) and THE BEST STORIES FROM NEW WORLDS II (1968) I also finished Judith Merril’s “new Wave” anthology ENGLAND SWINGS SF (also 1968). I’ll probably be on this NEW WORLD/British SF short story kick for the next couple of weeks.

    I also read four graphic novels this week. SHIRLEY JACKSON’S “THE LOTTERY” was a very effective adaptation by Jackson’s grandson Miles Hyman. Hyman’s art has a retro mid-century feel that manages to make the village itself a major character in the story. A quick read, but you would want to revisit the book many times over to let the artwork sink in. (Hyman is a Paris-based graphic novel artist whose work also includes two other adaptations of his grandmother’s work — the novel THE SUNDIAL and the juvenile fantasy NINE MAGIC WISHES, both of which are now on my gotta-read-real-soon list.) Eric Powell’s HILLBILLY, VOLUME ONE is an Appalachian fantasy that is firmly grounded in that area’s legends and lore. It reminds me of a more violent Manly Wade Wellman, with a bit of Joe R. Lansdale thrown in. Like Powell’s other work, this one’s a keeper. Jason Aaron’s THOR, GOD OF THUNDER, VOL. 3 — THE ACCURSED and Al Ewing’s LOKI:
    AGE NT OF ASGARD, VOL. 2 — I CANNOT TELL A LIE both show how convoluted the Marvel Universe has become. Interesting, but I sometimes wished for a roadmap with each book.

    Coming up, as I said, are more short stories and that final del Rey novel. I also have an early Megan Abbott, some Henry Kuttner, and some Eric Frank Russell in the chute. We’ll see if I get to these or if something else — LOOK! A SQUIRREL! — comes along to distract me.

    Unlike most of the country, it’s only been oppressively hot here, rather than OPPRESSIVELY hot, and we’ve have had a few wild rain storms to help balance the heat. I sincerely hope the weather will be a good friend to you over the coming week, Rick.

  7. Todd Mason says:

    Essay collections by Damien Broderick and Barry Malzberg…an anthology or two…some new magazines.

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