Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters in a fast paced, fun caper
Cons: All cons have already been stolen
The Bottom Line:
Attempt to stop heist
Another fast-paced story
With great characters
More Intrigue in the Art World
The problem when you have so many series you read is getting back to all of them. As I’ve been making an effort to read more books in series I started last year, I put Marked Masters on my June reading list. I really wish I’d gotten it sooner.
You see, the Bodies of Art Mysteries has a strong story arc. A very, very strong story arc. This book picks up just after the previous book ended, making it a sequel in every sense of the word. Now, I’m not saying I had trouble dropping back into the world of art recovery expert Laurel Beacham. Author Ritter Ames did a good job of reminding us what had happened in the previous book without slowing down the events of this book. But having a fresher memory would have been nice.
This book opens with Laurel in Florida with Jack Hawkes. Despite what they have just gone through, Laurel still doesn’t trust Jack and is only reluctantly working with him. He is keeping too many secrets from her while demanding she share everything she know. They are continuing to work together, however, in order to stop a major art heist, and Florida is their most promising lead. A kidnapping and a dead body prove that they are on the right track. Will they learn more about the plans in order to stop the heist? Or will they be stopped permanently?
I will repeat what I said about the first book in the series. If you pick up this book expecting a dead body and five suspects, you’ll be highly disappointed. This is a caper story with the focus on the good guys who are trying to stop the heist. As such, the plot is different from a traditional mystery, or at least the majority of mysteries I read. Honestly, it’s nice to take a break every so often from the familiar formula.
Of course, it helps that the plot is wonderful. Laurel spends a bit too long mulling over the events upon occasion, but it’s a minor complaint since the next twist is usually right around the corner. And twists there are aplenty. Laurel and Jack run into plenty of complications and surprises as they attempt to stop what is going on, which keeps the pages turning.
After reading the first book, I suspected that this one wouldn’t resolve the art heist plot, and I was correct. However, enough of what was introduced here was resolved that I do feel we got a good story. And what was left open is obviously going to feed into the next book, which I need to read soon.
Meanwhile, Jack continues to mystify and Laurel continues to be a wonderful main character. We got to know both of them a bit better here, although I continue to agree with Laurel that Jack is still keeping some major things from us. We meet some interesting new characters here with secrets of their own, and I found them just as fascinating.
Marked Masters continues a fast-paced story in style. I know I’m going to have to visit Laurel and Jack again soon.
Once you get started, you’ll want to read the rest of the Bodies of Art Mysteries, too.