Friday, 16 July 2021

Book Review: The Paris Collaborator by A. W. Hammond

The Paris Collaborator
A. W. Hammond

He’ll do anything to save her … even work for the enemy.

Publisher: Echo Publishing
Publication date: 4th May 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 309
Format read: Uncorrected proof copy
Source: courtesy of the publisher

About the book

August, 1944. In German-occupied Paris, former schoolteacher Auguste Duchene has stumbled upon an unusual way to survive: he finds missing people. When he’s approached by the French Resistance to locate a missing priest – and a cache of stolen weapons – Duchene initially refuses. But the Resistance offer him no choice. Within hours, he’s also blackmailed by a powerful Nazi into searching for a German soldier who’s suspected of deserting.

To fail at either task will have deadly consequences for Duchene – and for his daughter Marienne.

So begins a frantic race against time. As forces close in on Paris, Duchene has only 48 hours to locate the missing priest and soldier, or lose the only person he loves…

My review

A war torn Paris during the German occupation was deftly portrayed as Hammond includes the devastation of the area and also the divide the occupation caused between the Parisians themselves. Where every move was watched by all and you had to be careful not to be seen as a resistant or a sympathiser with accusations of collaboration being a precursor to ostracization.

Duchene was a finder of people. He was mainly called upon by parents who had lost a child. His special skill is brought to the attention of the Resistance and the Germans. Both parties give him a deadline to find their person of interest and a deadly price to pay if he doesn't succeed.

What I liked was that Duchene was an ordinary citizen caught up in the war. He wasn't particularly brave, he was ageing and tired, but he was smart. It was fear that motivated him.
Throughout the story we meet a few other citizens of Paris who are doing what they need to do to get by. Hammond explores the grey area of morals during wartime as Duchene and other  French citizens find themselves working with or for the Germans simply to survive. He also includes, through the character of Lucien, an opportunist who sees the war and people's suffering as a way to make money.

There are a couple of mysteries being played out throughout the story which made for some clever plotting and lots of action. I never knew what would happen next and I was eager to see how events would pan out.

The Paris Collaborator is a tension filled story that had me hooked from start to finish.

4 / 5   ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

A.W. Hammond was born in South Africa and emigrated to Australia as a child. He currently works at RMIT University and lives in Melbourne with his wife and daughters.

Challenges entered: Aussie Author Challenge #AussieAuthor21
                                 Historical Fiction Challenge #HisFicReadingChallenge


  1. This sounds like it offers something different for the WW11 genre. Nice review.

    1. Thanks Shelleyrae. I enjoy stories that tell how it was for the citizens of different countries during the war.