Kerry Hammond reports to Mystery Playground today from the most recent meeting of the Denver-based Crime & Beyond Book Club.
At our latest Crime and Beyond book club, we discussed our book pick, The Heist by Daniel Silva. The book is #14 in the Gabriel Allon series. Gabriel is Silva’s much loved art restorer/spy/Israeli Intelligence Agent.
As the book opens, Gabriel is in the middle of an art restoration project in Venice, Italy. His wife, Chiara is pregnant with twins and Gabriel is attempting to finish the job before she gives birth. He is approached by a policeman he knows, and is and asked to look into the murder of a suspected art thief and a missing Caravaggio. Gabriel doesn’t feel like he can say no, especially since the man they’re holding, who is also their prime suspect, is an old friend of Gabriel’s named Isherwood. It is implied that Isherwood will be charged if Gabriel doesn’t step in and find the real murderer. His investigation leads him to several stolen paintings, and the possible use of these valuable items as underground currency in the Middle East.
This is, of course, more than he bargained for. Gabriel soon finds himself running an operation for the Israeli government, The Office as he calls it. The plot includes another forged painting, used to lure the bad guys into the open, and a young Syrian girl who has lived through too much in her lifetime.
The book got really great reviews. Many of our members are big fans of the author and follow each book in the series. We also had some Silva newbies, and the consensus was that they are going to check out more books in the series. In general, we loved the art theft angle, and the facts he threw in about that subject. We really enjoy reading fiction that incorporates facts and actual events because you can learn so much. The book was believable and we liked the international locales. Thumbs up to The Heist.
Next month we are discussing a classic, The Greek Coffin Mystery by Ellery Queen.