Author: B.A. Shapiro
Narrator: Xe Sands
Published: October 2012, Highbridge Company
Length: 10 hours
On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art today worth over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.
Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting—a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum—in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.
Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.
My thoughts: I had been hearing great things about this book and wanted to read it (or in my case listen to it) before I picked up B.A. Shapiro's newest book, The Muralist, which I was fortunate enough to have gotten at BEA this past Spring. While the two books are not related, I really wanted to read that one first and I'm so glad I did...it was really good!
I love the art world - while I'm in no way artistic, I seem to have a fascination with paintings and forgery and all the intrigue that seems to come with that whole scene. This book had all that and more.
I really enjoyed all the characters - they were well drawn and quite vivid. I loved the way Claire would take us step-by-step through her process of the copying process. Not knowing anything about this, it was detailed enough to follow, yet never really felt as if I was being lectured at. I also liked that Claire is a flawed character. She knew what she was doing was wrong, but motivations can be a powerful thing. Once she got to a certain point, though, she had to go with her gut instinct.
I loved the writing and the descriptions used in this book. I am definitely looking forward to picking up B.A. Shapiro's next book soon...now my only dilemma is whether to read the book in print or listen to the audio version...
Audio thoughts: This is the first book I've listened to Xe Sands narrate and it certainly won't be the last. I know a lot of book bloggers that listen to audio books rave about Xe Sands and now I know why...her voice is spell-binding and you just want to keep listening to it. Of course, the story was quite interesting, too and she did a great job with the voices, but I could listen to her all day long!!! I know that B.A. Shapiro just came out with a new book and I really hope Xe Sands is narrating it because if she is...I'll definitely be listening to it...but in the meantime, I'm off to see what else she has narrated!