Ghosts of Saint-Michel

Marva Dobbs has a life most people would envy. An American who has lived in Paris for most of her adult life, she runs a popular African-American soul food restaurant, and her thirty-year marriage has produced a beautiful grown-up daughter. So why is she jeopardizing everything for a fling with her sous-chef, a mysterious twenty-eight-year-old Algerian man named Hassan?
Marva begins to ask herself the same question when she returns from summer vacation to find that Hassan is missing, and that he is the main suspect in the investigation into the bombing of a building in Paris that left one man dead. And then she disappears, leaving her bewildered daughter and secretive husband to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Ghosts of Saint-Michel is the talented Jake Lamar’s second romantic thriller to be set in the bohemian Eighteenth Arrondissement of the City of Light.


Read an Excerpt

Chapter One 
Marva Dobbs loved the rentrée. She loved the way the French spoke of the end of summer as a reentry. Like a high-flying space voyager reentering the earth's atmosphere. After the intoxicating pleasures of a month-long vacation, the whole country was supposed to return to practical everydayness. Back to school, back to business, back to reality. From summery hedonism to autumnal seriousness. The unofficial start of the rentrée was the first Monday in September, like Labor Day in the United States of America, the country Marva had abandoned four decades earlier. But while Labor


Praise for Ghosts of Saint-Michel

"A fearless young talent to keep your eye on."
--Entertainment Weekly
"Always a witty and astute social observer, Jake Lamar illuminates the interaction of French locals with Americans abroad, some of them on the lam, in a suspenseful and funny thriller set in the seamy, particularly fascinating Eighteenth Arrondissement of Paris."
--Diane Johnson, author of Le Divorce, Le Mariage, and L'Affaire, on Rendezvous Eighteenth
"The author casts a tough, critical eye on his cast of mostly black middle-class expatriate Americans, whose interactions he so deftly depicts....Mainstream readers fond of Paris should feel fully satisfied."
--Publishers Weekly on Rendezvous Eighteenth
"Deeply engaging."
--The Miami Herald on Rendezvous Eighteenth
"This one is a gem not just for its plotting but for the extremely likable character of Jenks, who lives in a world of perpetual perplexity where music is the only thing he understands well. Mr. Lamar's love of Paris and his understanding of its ways add to the delight."
--The Washington Times on Rendezvous Eighteenth
"A first-class story...Jake Lamar delivers a compelling and unique look at the stranger-in-a-strange-land theme....An intriguing tale of alienation and the search for identity."
--Sun-Sentinel (Florida) on Rendezvous Eighteenth
"A page-turner of a murder mystery with a clear, breezy style. The book is also a wicked black comedy in both senses of the phrase---it's both caustically funny and a shrewd take on racial politics."
--The New York Times Book Review on If 6 Were 9
"Maybe he's feeling the shade of the great Chester Himes, because this novel has wit and sparkle, to say nothing of fabulous characters."
--The Globe and Mail (Toronto) on If 6 Were 9
"Lamar is a skilled tactician....The situations and relationships are believable and sharp."
--The Washington Post Book World on Close to the Bone
"Lamar skillfully weaves the romantic with the political, and the personal with the societal."
--Mademoiselle on Close to the Bone

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Jake Lamar

  • Jake Lamar was born in 1961 and grew up in the Bronx, New York. He is the author of the memoir, Bourgeois Blues, and the novels The Last Integrationist, Close to the Bone, If 6 Were 9, and Rendezvous Eighteenth. He has lived in Paris since 1993.
  • Jake Lamar





    Available Formats and Book Details

    Ghosts of Saint-Michel

    American Mysteries in Paris, featuring Ricky Jenks

    Jake Lamar

    • e-Book



    Minotaur Books