Readers looking for fast-paced, page-turning suspense and intrigue need look no farther than The Black Jersey. The new mystery from Mexican journalist Jorge Zepeda Patterson throws readers into the middle of the grueling 23-day, 2,000-mile Tour de France bicycle race through the French countryside.
Considered one of the most intense sporting events in the world, the Tour ends badly for many individuals who succumb to fatigue, bad luck or physical injury. Casualties are par for the course, but what no one can account for is the possibility that some of the contenders are being murdered.
Professional racer Marc Moreau of France, who rides for U.S.-based Team Fonar, provides a firsthand account of the events when he is approached by French Police Commissioner Favre to spy on his fellow cyclists from within in an effort to identify the potential killer. Moreau, who has some military police training but no real detective skills to call upon, doesn’t want to believe the worst of any of his competitors, but when he becomes the apparent target of a gas explosion in his camper, the threat becomes all too real.
It isn’t long before Moreau, who emerges as a contender to win the race, begins speculating about who could have it out for him and his fellow cyclists. Any of them would kill to stand on the podium at the end of the race. Even team managers, mechanics and his best friend and teammate, Tour favorite Steve Panata, are unable to escape suspicion. Every accident, every incident on course, becomes fuel for increasing speculation, testing loyalties, friendships and trust.
Patterson, whose work is aptly translated by award-winning writer Achy Obejas, mixes edge-of-your-seat racing action with dark suspense, all leading up to a surprising finale. Race out to get this one.