Monday, April 15, 2013

Book Review: Feint of Art by Hailey Lind (aka Juliet Blackwell) (Art Lover's Mysteries #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Memorable characters in a thrilling story.
Cons: A couple details of the plot not officially wrapped up.
The Bottom Line:
Wild romp of a ride
Through high stakes art forgery
This fun is not faux

Fake Art and Real Murder.  Shouldn't That Be the Other Way Around?

Feint of Art is one of those debuts you love to come across. It is fun. And with two more books in the series already in print, you know you've got more great adventures to come.

Annie Kincaid grew up at the feet of her grandfather, famous art forger Georges LeFleur. She learned the art of forgery herself, but after a run in with the law, she tried to put that behind her. Now, she runs a faux finishing studio in San Francisco.

But her past comes back to her when ex-boyfriend Ernst Pettigrew asks her to authenticate a Caravaggio painting. Not only does Annie recognize it as a forgery, but she recognizes the painting as the work of Anton, a friend of her grandfather.

Within an hour of her identification, a guard at the museum is murdered and Ernst disappears.

Meanwhile, a local art dealer has disappeared with drawings from the Old Masters, leaving behind forgeries by Anton. Can Annie find Anton and all the originals? Who killed the guard and why?

If there's such a thing as a cozy caper, this perfectly fits the category. There is a bit of outrageousness to the plot, but only a little. It really holds together well and makes logical sense. And the pace is fast with several great twists along the way. I did have one sub-plot nailed early on, but the main story kept me guessing until the end. The climax left one or two things for us to piece together, but it is pretty easy to figure out what happened.

Making it even better are the memorable characters. Annie herself is a hoot. She has a great sense of humor that gives everything a sense of fun. In fact, I was laughing so hard at one point when she'd been kidnapped that I had to stop reading. She has a habit of giving people nicknames that adds to the fun. Her new landlord is Fender Bender, for example. And one character she meets gets dubbed X-Man. These little bits greatly added to my enjoyment.

And the other characters are interesting. A few of them start off as stereotypes, but they grow as the book progresses. All of them stood out in their own ways. I can't wait to spend time with all of them again.

Tying it all together is polished, self-assured writing. It's hard to believe this is a debut book.

Truly, this book was a joy to read. If you enjoy a fun mystery, grab Feint of Art and hang on for the fun ride.

You'll also want to read the rest of the Art Lover's Mysteries in order.

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