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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Paris Widow


Narrators: Marni Penning, Patrick Zeller Harlequin Audio

ISBN: 9780778307976

Publisher: Park Row

Publication Date: 06/11/2024

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)



A dream vacation turns deadly when secrets from the past catch up to a married couple in Paris in this new edge-of-your-seat thriller from USA Today bestselling author, Kimberly Belle.

When Stella met Adam, she thought she had finally found a nice, normal guy—a welcome change from her previous boyfriend and her precarious jetsetter lifestyle with him. But her secure world comes crashing down when Adam goes missing after an explosion in the city square. Unable to reach him, she panics.

As the French police investigate, it’s revealed that Adam was on their radar as a dealer of rare and stolen antiquities with a long roster of criminal clients. Reeling from this news, Stella is determined not to leave Paris until she has the full story. Was Adam a random victim or the target of the explosion? And why is someone following her through the streets of Paris?

An irresistible, fast-paced read set in some of Europe’s most inviting locales, The Paris Widow explores how sinister secrets of the past stay with us—no matter how far we travel.







About the Author


Photo Credit: Sarah Hannah Photography


Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author with over one million copies sold worldwide, with titles including The Paris Widow, The Marriage Lie, a Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Mystery & Thriller, and the co-authored #1 Audible Original, Young Rich Widows. Kimberly’s novels have been optioned for film and television and selected by LibraryReads and Amazon & Apple Books Editors as Best Books of the Month, and the International Thriller Writers as nominee for best book of the year. She divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.


Keep up with Kimberly on Facebook / TikTok (KimberlyBelleBooks), Twitter / Instagram (@KimberlySBelle) or via her website at www.kimberlybellebooks.com.

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Exceptional Authors.

Standout Books. Elevator Talk.


INTRIGUING QUESTIONS. INQUIRING READERS WANT TO KNOW.



"Behind the Book & The Author"

With International Bestselling Author Kimberly Belle


Welcome to the first June 2024 #AuthorElevatorSeries! Joining us for the fourth time, a personal and fan favorite, special guest international bestselling author Kimberly Belle with her eleventh novel— the highly anticipated riveting thriller, THE PARIS WIDOW.  


Join us as Kimberly shares some fascinating behind-the-scenes exclusives from the book and up-close and personal fun moments from this powerhouse author!


Welcome, Kimberly!




Behind the Author



Q. Give us your best ELEVATOR PITCH for THE PARIS WIDOW.    

   

A dream vacation ends in tragedy when Stella’s husband Adam goes missing after an explosion in a Parisian square. But according to French police, the bombing wasn’t an accident, and Adam wasn’t a victim but the target. 



Q.  SETTING: Tell us more about the book setting (s) and why you selected it.


This is one of those stories where the setting is just as important as the characters. Paris gets the starring role, but readers will also get swept away to my beloved Amsterdam as well as Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, and Malta--no passport necessary. Armchair travel at its best!



Q.  WRITING: Do you have a favorite chapter or scene in the novel you enjoyed writing the most?


This probably won’t be a surprise to those who know me, but the scene in Amsterdam was one of my favorites to write. Partly because the square where it takes place, the Begijnhof, is one of the loveliest spots in the city, a quiet and peaceful oasis in the busiest, loudest area, but also because a lot of the story lines come together in that scene. This is where we first meet art detective Kat, where we get a sense of the danger that’s swirling around Adam and Stella, where things really heat up for the rest of the story. If you’re ever in Amsterdam, don’t miss that square. Go sit on the same bench as Adam and Stella did in The Paris Widow and then tell me you’re not charmed by it, too.



Q.  TAKEAWAY: What important message, theme, or takeaway would you like readers to be left with when reading your book?


I hope readers walk away with a little more knowledge of the horrors of the blood antiquities trade. Archaeological artefacts, smuggled over international borders and sold to the highest bidder--often a respected gallery or museum. It’s HUGE business, depending on who you believe, $8 billion per year or more. Either way, it’s shocking.



Thank you, Kimberly. Indeed, armchair travel at its best!

Readers, continue reading below for more up close and personal from Kimberly!



Behind the Book



YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR KILLER AUTHOR CLUB.

Spending time with Killers Heather Gudenkauf and Kaira Rouda and getting to talk to a different rockstar author every other week. Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter, Sally Hepworth, Lisa Scottoline, Ruth Ware. We get to talk to some seriously killer authors on our show. I try not to fangirl, but I don’t always succeed.


CURRENT STATE?

I’m currently in Amsterdam but I’ll be headed back to the States soon for some bookish travel so here they come: Georgia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Iowa.


ZODIAC SIGN?

Pisces


FAVORITE FLOWER?

I like flowers that are a little sloppy. Tulips that loop-de-loop toward the light, fluffy peonies that rain petals, floppy snowballs and droopy mums. I like my bouquets to look freshly picked and a wee bit wild.


FAVORITE MAKEUP/HAIR TIP

For my frizzy and/or curly-haired gals out there, I discovered the Karinga line from Rene Furterer and it has completely changed my hair (though warning: use sparingly!). Ditto for the Dyson AirWrap. It was stupidly expensive but now I can’t give myself a decent blowout without it.


DOG/CAT LOVER?

I don’t dislike cats but I’m more a dog person. Daisy, my King Charles Cavalier, is the sweetest one on the planet.


YOUR FAVORITE LIFE LESSON QUOTE?

I wish I could remember who told me this, but they’ve become words I live by: you can’t change another person, the only thing you can do is change the way you respond to them.


MOST MEMORABLE PLACE YOU HAVE TRAVELED?

South Africa. The first time, I led a group of Habitat for Humanity volunteers (I worked for Habitat at the time). Ten years later, I went back with my family and we visited the homeowner. He served us coffee in the living room I helped build.


IF YOU WERE GRANTED 3 MONTHS OF UNINTERRUPTED WRITING TIME—WHERE WOULD IT BE?

An Exotic Tropical Island – if you follow me on my socials you know that I do this, sneak off with my husband to a Caribbean island for a month every winter, but it’s not a vacation. We work every day while we’re there, though we make sure there’s some beach time, too. There’s just something about being away from home in a beautiful place that’s so inspiring to the muse. Every year, I get a ton of words written.


WHICH DO YOU ENJOY WRITING MORE: DIALOGUE OR INTERNAL THOUGHTS?

Dialogue, and by a mile. I don’t actually mind writing internalizations, but what I really hate (and labor over) are transitions. I spend a lot of time “clearing my throat” with unnecessary words I eventually toss. A lot of times I’ll put a placeholder there and keep writing, something to fix later so it doesn’t stop the flow.


HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN?

10 solo books, and that includes my 2025 book currently in edits, as yet untitled. I’ve also co-authored two in the Widows series: Young Rich Widows and Desperate Deadly Widows. So officially, that makes twelve.


INTROVERT OR EXTROVERT?

I’m an ambivert. I enjoy being around people – especially the right people – and can socialize with the best of them. But unlike my extrovert husband, I need a minute to recharge afterward. It’s something we joke about, my need for “quiet time” the second we get home.


YOUR FAVORITE APP?

TikTok – though I’m mostly a lurker there. I could scroll for hours and hours.


YOUR GO-TO RECIPE FOR A NIGHT IN?

UberEats. LOL, I’m a decent chef but I kinda really hate cooking.


DUE TO YOUR VAST TRAVELS, ARE YOU A GOOD PACKER? (light or heavy)

I’m an expert packer! A couple of my most helpful tips: 1) lie everything out flat in the suitcase then fold in the ends. More fits this way and it comes out less wrinkled. 2) packing cubes are great in theory but they take up a lot of room. I really only use them if I’m not worried about space. 3) keep a toiletries bag packed and ready to go. Hair, makeup, toothpaste and contact lenses. I actually have two versions, one for carryon and one for in the checked bag. Yes, this means you’ll have to buy double (or in my case, triple) but it’s worth it when your bag is ready to go and all you have to do is throw it in your suitcase.


DESCRIBE YOUR FAVORITE PAIR OF SHOES.

A gorgeous pair of strappy sandals that go with everything, with five inch heels and the perfect fit. I can wear them all day and then go dancing in them at night, and they never ever pinch my toes or make the balls of my feet ache. If you find this magical pair of shoes, please let me know where to buy them.


THE LAST BOOK YOU RAVED ABOUT?

Alex Finlay’s If Something Happens to Me, and I raved about it to him. I texted him right after I finished, and I believe the exact quote was “Holy sh@t!”


FIRST JOB?

Working the drive through at Arby’s. Maybe this is why I hate cooking, now that I think about it. Making food feels like work.


FIRST CAR?

A white Chevy Citation that I drove into a tree. The car was totaled, but I walked away with only a few stitches in my knee.


BEST PART OF BEING AN AUTHOR?

Getting early reads of upcoming books. My TBR overfloweth but I wouldn’t have it any other way.


IF YOUR FOOD IS BAD AT A RESTAURANT, DO YOU SAY SOMETHING?

Depends. Is it bad because of shoddy cooking—an overcooked steak, for example, or a dish that’s still cold? Then yes, I send it back. But if the service is good and the food is not to my taste, I typically won’t mention it.


A FAVORITE PODCAST?

I’m a Real Housewives junkee, so I tend toward the gossipy Bravo-esque podcasts. Two Ts in a Pod, Ay Por Favor, they’re mindless fluff but a lot of fun. Morbid and Crime Junkie are my true crime go-tos.


AN ITEM ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

I would love to go to a Super Bowl, not because I’m a football fan or even know who’s playing most of the time, but purely for the halftime show.


SOMETHING YOU WILL NEVER TRY AGAIN?

Rappelling, ziplining, anything where I’m flung from great heights. I’ve done it. I hated it. I’ll never do it again. And no, I haven’t (and won’t) jump out of an airplane.



THANK YOU, Kimberly, for spending time with us today! Always a pleasure hosting you.


Thank you for having me!!











Praise


“The Paris Widow takes you on a twist-filled journey from the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower to the seedy alleyways of the 19th arrondissement and into the secrets lurking behind a seemingly idyllic marriage. You’ll hold your breath as Stella Knox faces the dangers of the dark world of blood antiquities in her search for the truth about what really happened to her husband and whether her marriage and life were all a facade. Kimberly Belle has crafted the perfect thriller. Magnifique!”

—Alex Finlay, author of The Night Shift and What Have We Done


“The Paris Widow is irresistible from the very first page. Simultaneously glamorous and harrowing, full of danger and excitement, with a passionate love story at its heart, this is the definition of a page-turner. I devoured it and so will you.”

—Michele Campbell, internationally bestselling author of The Intern


"I was glued to the pages of The Paris Widow! I couldn't stop reading and was blown away by the twists and turns. One of my favorite reads this year!"

—Freida McFadden, New York Times bestselling author of The Housemaid


"[S]tella is an appealing protagonist, and Belle peppers the action with vibrant descriptions of her European setting. This continues the author’s winning streak."

—Publishers Weekly











My Review


"Fabuleuse!"


The queen of domestic suspense, internationally bestselling Author (a favorite), returns following The Personal Assistant with her latest dazzling suspense crime thriller, THE PARIS WIDOW


—A husband and wife are jet-setting through Europe (mixing business with pleasure) when an explosion at a Paris café sets in motion a tangled web of dangerous lies, secrets, espionage, criminals, greed, deceit, and betrayal that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page is turned. What a book!


A complex, high-powered suspense thriller that will keep readers guessing. With vibrant descriptions of European settings, THE PARIS WIDOW is highly entertaining, action-packed, twisty, fast-paced, and adrenaline-fueled. (think David Baldacci)—a true page-turner!


Stella Knox and her husband, Adam, have been together for four years and reside in Atlanta's Peachtree Hills (I formerly lived there). Stella is a former flight attendant, and now a caterer and her husband owns Architectural Antiques in Atlanta. They are on vacation, having traveled crisscrossing through Europe for three glorious weeks, just the two of them, and it has been heavenly.


On their last day at a quaint Parisian Café, they are finished and headed to the hotel to grab their bags and return to the airport for home. Adam forgets his sunglasses and goes back to the café. Then, there is an explosion, and Adam is nowhere to be found.


Stella is frantic. Where is her husband? Was this an accident or a bombing, and who was the target? She knows she cannot leave Paris until she finds Adam. Wanting to get his face out there and help find him, Stella agrees to be interviewed by a news reporter with a global reach. She then became known as "The Paris Widow" around the world.


There is an investigation, and the French police think Adam is one of the victims, but where is his body? Is he dead or alive? If alive, where is he? His phone is going to voice mail.


However, the cops think Adam is involved in an illicit trade of blood, antiquities, and archaeological artifacts on the black market. How can this be? Her husband is a kind man, but it is not in his personality. By trading the antiquities, is he financing terrorism, they say? The man she knows is not a criminal.


She does not know whom to trust. Stella has some past secrets, including a former relationship with a powerful man, Sully, who has many wealthy clients and enemies. She was caught in the middle and imprisoned for a short time. Adams knows none of this.


This cannot be happening. She wonders if the two events or men are connected. Do they know the same people? She has never spoken to Sully after what happened years ago, but he may be the only one to help her find her husband. Was it a coincidence that she met Adam, serendipity, or planned? Has her marriage been a sham?


Along the way, we meet some dangerous criminals and the heroic Kat, who risks her life to go undercover and reclaim centuries-old treasures, unmask forgeries, solve museum thefts, and trace stolen art to world-famous museums. She is determined to protect the world's cultural property and return it to its rightful owners. Was she working with Adam or out to get him?


But nothing is as it appears. Stella will stop at nothing until she finds her husband and solves this mystery. No matter the danger, she can be ruthless when backed into a corner.


STELLAR! Belle steps her game with THE PARIS WIDOW! A cat-and-mouse adrenaline thriller. Who is the cat, and who is the mouse?


The Author shines with her research of blood antiquities trade and her globetrotting. Be sure to check out the Author's note, which dives more into the inspiration behind the novel and this illicit trade from every country on the planet.


Belle is a pro at crafting the secrets of marriage and relationships. In her signature style, she creates strong, brilliant, and resilient women—Stella is a force to be reckoned with. A novel packed full of danger, excitement, intrigue, and a little romance. A perfect ending!


INTENSE! Prime for the big screen, THE PARIS WIDOW is fantastic, and the Author is at the top of her game! A long-time fan, I have read every book, and each is unique. Highly recommend.


Stay tuned for my upcoming #AuthorElevatorSeries Chat with Kimberly where we go behind the book and this mega-talented, long-time favorite author! (June 11, 2024).


Thanks to the author for an advanced reading copy for interview purposes.


@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: June 11, 2024


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CHECK OUT MY PREVIOUS #AUTHORELEVATORSERIES

CHATS WITH KIMBERLY!



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