Tuesday, September 19, 2017

{Blog Tour} The Frenchman - Lise McClendon (Review, Excerpt & Giveaway)

Frenchman-ebook-coverLise McClendon

on Tour September 8-21 with

The Frenchman

Release date: September 8, 2017 at Thalia Press 278 pages


In this 5th installment of the Bennett Sisters Mysteries (beginning with Blackbird Fly), attorney Merle Bennett goes to France for an extended stay to drink in the essence of ‘la France Profonde’ and write her own novel. But the countryside is not as tranquil as she hoped. A missing Frenchman, a sinister one, an elderly one, a thieving one, and a vandalizing one: all conspire to turn Merle’s sojourn of reflection into a nightmare of worry. Where is Pascal, her French boyfriend? Who is the man with the terrible scar? Why is someone spray-painting her little stone house in the Dordogne? And will her novel about the French Revolution – snippets of which are included – give her a soupçon of delight or a frisson of danger?
Works fine as a stand-alone


This book follow Merle Bennett who is trying to figure out her life in this book.  Her son is going to be going off to college and she will now be on her own.  I enjoyed getting to know the innerworings of Merle during the book.  I loved how the author fully developed her as a character and took her time to reveal bits of her past that have effected her future.

I loved the author writing style.  The author did a great job giving some background information so that it was easily read as a standalone book although it is part of a series.  Also, I loved all the descriptions that the author used I felt like I could imagine myself right along with Merle during the book.  

The book is told from multiple POV's which I really enjoyed.  I love in a mystery when you can see different parts of the story all come together.   The author gave just enough that I wanted to keep reading to figure out what was going to happen in the end. 

Merle is such an interesting character.  At first she comes off as a little indecisive, but when the action kicks in you can see her take charge attitude appear.  The author has a few stories intertwining in this book, but each was a great read. 

I loved that we got to meet so many different characters in this book.  We get to meet a few French neighbors of Merle's as well as Pascal her French boyfriend.  The author takes us on a very long journey that was very fast paced and a great read.  I ended up not being able to put the book down.   I wanted to know what happened to Pascal and what Merle was going to decide about her life.  I enjoyed getting a peek into this small town. 

I can't wait to read the other books in the series.  I liked that the series does follow a set of sisters and after reading this book I am intrigued to read the rest. 

I would suggest this as a perfect book to read before bedtime.  The story did capture my attention fully, but I found a lot of natural stopping points where I was able to put the book down and think about what I read.  

I received a copy of this book from France Book Tours to provide an honest review.  This does not affect my opinion of this book. 

My Rating: 4/5


So, if everyone was so happy, why was the wine fraud division of the Policier Nationale taking a close look at Domaine Bourboulenc? There had been talk among workers, wine agents, and other spies, that the Domaine was planting cheaper varieties of grapes, fast-growing ones, and switching them at the time they sold product to the high-end Domaines such as the Bandols and Châteauneuf-du-Papes. Simply sending the real Bourboulenc variety out of the AOC winemaking region was grounds for an investigation. The switching of varieties made the crime much more grave.
So far Pascal hadn’t seen anything out of the ordinary. He could recognize many of the 50 or 60 varieties of grapes on sight. Others he needed photographs to take to headquarters for identification. This was his third day at the vineyard and it was beginning to look like a dead end. It was difficult to catch a switch of varieties under any conditions.
His boots were no longer black but the color of the earth, filthy, chalky. He thrust his hands in his pockets as the boy got farther ahead. At the end of the row he waited for Pascal.
“It will be a good harvest, yes?” Antoine-Luc asked affably.
“Should be. But one never knows.” Pascal had seen more than a few good growing years ruined by thunderstorms, unseasonable heat, and other rogue events. Grape-growing was a mercurial business, depending on unknowable factors like weather patterns, thus the unsavory nature of criminal activity to make up for lost profits. When all the stars align, many fortunes are made. When they don’t, it is often disastrous.
The tasting room of Domaine Bourboulenc was a disused, musty room lined with empty plastic jugs and centered with a rustic wooden table. A rock propped up one leg. A dirty glass pitcher sat at the downhill end. Antoine-Luc grabbed it.
“This way. Into the kitchen,” he gestured toward a door in the back of the room. “We are very casual here.”
Pascal followed him through the door into a darkened space with two grimy windows. He could make out an ancient range. An old refrigerator rattled in the corner. On the other side of the low-ceilinged room, three men stood around another wooden table, drinking wine and eating cheese and fruit. The grandfather and his two sons. They smiled at Pascal and waved him over, offering him a glass of red wine.
The small talk around the table was strictly agricultural, giving Pascal no new data for his investigation. It wasn’t until Antoine-Luc escorted him to his car an hour later that Pascal got a glimmer of information. The young man had enjoyed a glass or two of wine himself, perfectly normal. He seemed loose and happy.
“So, you will buy many tons of grapes then?” Antoine-Luc slapped him on the back. “Of course you will! There is no better grower of the delicious Bourboulenc than right here. Everyone knows it.” He swung toward Pascal and moved in to speak confidentially. “It is true. Everyone knows it, monsieur. Even those tapettes over at Châteauneuf-du-Pape.”
Pascal eyed him. “I have some competition?”
Bien sûr! The fancy domaines buy our grapes for their grand cru. They are the best. If only grandpapa would ask the right price. He nearly gives them away for free.”
“Would he sell to me at the same outrageous price?” Pascal asked.
Absolument! He will make you a deal you won’t believe. A steal. And, I shouldn’t say, maybe for you an even better deal than the others.” Antoine-Luc grinned at him. “I would much rather sell grapes to you, monsieur. I can tell you are a real Frenchman.”
The boy kept up his patter as Pascal climbed into his car, rolled down the windows, and turned on the air conditioning. Antoine-Luc waxed on about the beauty of the old green BMW sedan, how powerful and beautiful it was even at its age with the sun spots on the paint, and on and on. Pascal thought he would never shut up. Finally, he looked at his watch and it really was time to go.

He had a train to meet.


Frenchman - Lise McClendonLise McClendon is the author of fifteen novels of mystery, suspense, and general mayhem plus short stories. Her bestselling Bennett Sisters mystery series began with ‘Blackbird Fly.’ She also writes thrillers as Rory Tate, the latest of which is ‘PLAN X.’ Her short story is included in this fall’s noir anthology, ‘The Obama Inheritance.’ She lives in Montana.
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Buy the book: on Amazon



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  1. thanks for your lovely review. yes, the rest of the series is totally worth it. Emma at FBT

    1. I can't wait to read the rest of the series!

  2. Thank you for a great review. I've read so many positive reviews and I'm really looking forward to reading the whole series. Thank you.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    1. I can't wait to read the rest of the series!

  3. Nice review. Looking forward to reading the book.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Very interesting! I'd not heard of this book before. Sometimes multiple POVs are a disaster, and sometimes it's the best aspect of the book. I'm glad that it worked for you. :D Wonderful review, Kristyn!

    Have a lovely day. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. I agree sometimes the multiple POV's doesn't work out, but this one worked. Thank you for stopping by! Have a great day!!

  5. aww this looks like a fun read and it's a mystery, perfect for fall. I love how you were able to read it as a standalone

    1. It is a great fall book! Thank you for stopping by!

  6. This does sound nice. A mystery set in france and multiple POV's- I like seeing stories like from different angles.

    1. I enjoy multiple POV to get the complete picture. Thank you for stopping by!


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