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Book Reviews

 


"The Long Road to Paris, inspired by actual events, offers intrigue, a highly original plot, fascinating characters, history, technology, travel, romance, espionage, emotion, and everything an adventure-lover could want. The authors knew their subject well and along with extensive research and travel, they brought the story to life. The characters became real to me and Ed's love for his little daughter Lizzy is an enduring theme. The story holds many twists and turns and surprises that kept me turning the pages, hungry to know more. The pacing is perfect and all of the mechanics of writing and story-telling are perfect. Excellent reading. "

–Writer's Digest Self-Published book contest judge, 2012


 

Driving a Volkswagen Beetle with an alternative engine-technology, an engineer races from New York to Paris and tries to outwit those bent on stealing the car. Ed Talbot, engineer and owner of a fledgling alternative automotive testing company, has just been offered an intriguing opportunity. German scientist Dietrich Otto has developed a revolutionary engine-technology that could severely impact the world’s oil dependency. To gauge its effectiveness, Dietrich puts the invention into a 1967 VW Beetle and asks Ed to drive it in a car rally from New York to Paris. Ed agrees, though he’s uneasy about Dietrich’s almost pathological secrecy. Unease turns to full-fledged dread when Ed’s business partner is murdered and the FBI starts getting nosy. Someone has a huge interest in Dietrich’s invention, but who is it? Ed wants to back out, but breach of contract carries a heavy price, so he takes the wheel. He’s paired with expert navigator Marie-Claire Levieux, a gorgeous, mysterious Frenchwoman who carries a potentially devastating secret. Soon, Ed’s feelings for Marie-Claire aren’t in keeping with those of a married man, but once they’re traveling on the great Trans-Siberian highway in Russia, romance is the last thing on his mind. Another murder, a nearly fatal attack and sabotage make the rally a race to survive. More than one country wants Dietrich’s technology either to develop or destroy, and Ed is smack in the middle with only Marie-Claire to trust. The Howles, themselves experienced ralliers, have done a remarkable job recreating the day-to-day challenges of an around-the-world race, and their intriguing, behind-the-scenes details add a rich, delightful layer to the story. In a time of record-high gasoline prices, the plot raises intriguing questions about the world’s love affair with oil, but, thankfully, the message isn’t heavy-handed. It’s Ed and Marie-Claire’s witty banter, quick thinking and dedication to the race—and to each other—that makes the read so enjoyable. Though some plot resolutions are too convenient, it doesn’t detract from the fun-filled ride. Fast cars, fast women and fast thinking comprise this solid, utterly entertaining thriller.

 


 

Need an action-adventure novel for your summer read? Grab a copy of The Long Road to Paris and hold onto your lounge chair! A world rally consisting of 32 antique cars sets out from New York in 2008 to retrace the route of the original New York to Paris Race of 1908. Simple enough, it seems, to our protagonist, Ed Talbot, until his business partner is mysteriously killed. He is paired with a French navigator who seems oddly familiar, his wife leaves him for a Hindu mystic, and he feels that he is being watched. This is the backdrop for what turns out to be a dicey game of superpower politics involving the confiscation and control of Ed Talbot’s 1967 Volkswagen. The mysterious alternativeenergy powerplant in the VW requires no fuel to run and has many powerful people interested. True to their car’s name, Stewball, Ed and Marie-Claire find themselves in a constant stew. Three superpowers are either tailing, stalking, or chasing them across three continents while fellow competitors around them are being shot at, blown up, or who simply disappear. And in the midst of all this, Ed and Marie- Claire find themselves falling in love. There’s more to this steamy (but never unseemly) novel than just revolutionary alternative energy sources, superpower jousting, and love and death. On April 14, 2011, AACA members Janet and Ed Howle headed off on a 14,000-mile rally across three continents in their 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. The couple competed in the 2011 World Race, the first around-the-world automobile competition since 1908.


– Ronald Sieber
Antique Automobile July & August 2011



Readers' Reviews

 

"Cinematic, plot twists and great characters. Great opening, classic McGuffin and the story roars on from there. Excellent character and plot development. I'd LOVE to see this as a movie! Quickly became one of those can't-put-it-down books."

– BF



"Beginning with a crash and ending with a few surprises, this tale of intrigue will keep you turning the pages."

– LMcB



“This book wonderfully and successfully mixes romance, adventure, politics, mystery, humor and suspense. Each page brings on a new twist to the story and had me hanging, eagerly waiting to turn it so as to find out what was happening on the next page. I missed or nearly-missed my subway stop on my way to and back from work many times, so engrossed was I in this book! I cannot wait for the sequel. I am all the more impressed by “The Long Road to Paris” knowing that it was written by a couple, Ed and Janet Howle. This is what I would call a masterly four-hand writing performance!”

VG



“This is a fun-filled, fast paced thriller with enough twists and turns to keep one off balance and surprised until the end. The characters are engaging and real, and the plot, which includes some thought-provoking-but-subtle ideas on energy efficiency, is engaging. I read it in one sitting and look forward to the Howles’ next book.”

– TBC



“Pageturner. Once you start reading, you have to keep going. There is no other way. Very entertaining story with several unexpected twists and placed in an interesting international setting, from China and Russia to the busy heart of Paris. I gave a few away as gifts and I noticed that the travelers amongst my friends appreciated it extra. Hope this couple keeps writing.”

– CO



“Once into this book I wanted to rush forward into the adventure, precariously riding along with Ed and Marie-Claire across continents with an eclectic cast of cars, characters and commitments, then found myself counting the remaining pages. I slowed down, savoring the final fifty or so, and missed these two people and their adventure when the story stopped. But did it really end? I am looking forward to the sequel.”

– JA



“The Long Road to Paris has more twists than the Pacific Coast Highway. What a fun read! We have an everyman, Ed, in situations we might expect of a James Bond character. But Ed is not a marksman or a kung fu expert. He just uses his wits and common sense to get out of tight spots. The international locations ring with the authenticity of authors who have been there, done that, and have now written the book! And along with the detective and romantic element we also learn about the world of road rallies, which was totally new to me. A great, fun summer read. I highly recommend it.”

– MG



“This is an excellent book with a great plot and interesting characters. I especially like the mix of suspense, mystery and romance. The twists and turns made me want to keep reading. The description of the locations made me feel that I was traveling with them. I would recommend this book.”

– JAC



“This book grabs you by the arm and takes off with the pace of a high-performance race car. International espionage, high adventure, and well developed characters combine to offer an entertaining read that is hard to put down. The book works on three levels; the reader is in the front seat to experience the rigors and excitement of the rally teams traveling around the world, we have a wider journalistic view via the chapters that post the fictional journalist’s view of the events, and these is a sweet tale of love embedded in the story as well. I devoured this book in one day, which hasn’t happened since I read the Da Vinci Code. Great fun!”

– JS



“Not only is this book a wonderful mystery, but it will also appeal to car rally enthusiasts, for the background of the story is a rally that goes around the world beginning in New York City and ending in Paris at the Eiffel Tower. For those who are unfamiliar with all the intricacies of driving in a rally and the relationship between the driver and navigator, this part of the story is also fascinating. It is an excellent and informative read.”

– DD

 

Copyright © 2011 The Long Road to Paris - Ed and Janet Howle