Monday, February 15, 2010

To Catch a Thief

To Catch a Thief
By Christina Skye

For reasons probably best left unexamined, I have a real fondness for stories about forgery. Pretty much any kind of forgery will do, but art forgery in particular is a personal favorite. There’s just something about a plot that hinges on linen content, pigments, and brushstroke techniques that fascinates me. When To Catch a Thief first came out, all I could recall from the reviews I had read was something about a Navy SEAL and a mountain climbing heroine fighting a shadowy terrorist organization, and I thought “menh, lots of those around.” I picked up the book last week and read the back cover and Bingo! Daughter of world renowned art forger attempts straight arrow life as conservator, only to be sucked into shadowy underworld during a hunt for a missing Da Vinci sketch. That had definite potential, so I took the book home and devoted a weekend to it. I was not disappointed.
Jordan MacInnes was a very successful art thief with a signature style; his daughter Nell prefers to get her thrills from climbing mountains and helping with Search and Rescue operations. Her day job is that of art conservator, where her extensive formal education and the informal one she received from her father and his associates have given her formidable expertise. When a recently discovered Da Vinci sketch disappears from a museum where it was being evaluated, Nell’s father is implicated. Suddenly Nell is in the middle of a firestorm: her father has disappeared, a group of thugs attempts to kidnap her, the FBI wants her for questioning, and special government agent Dakota Smith has to keep her out of harm’s way and convince her to help track down the missing sketch before it is sold to fund terrorist operations.
This book if full of over the top action sequences that would do The Bourne Identity proud. It’s fast-paced, suspenseful, and has some really interesting details about both mountain climbing and art conservation, which give it a little more depth. There were a few plot elements near the end where the author lost me a little, because they didn’t make sense in light of previous statements by the characters, but this in no way ruined the story for me. Both hero and heroine are likeable and their motivations are reasonable. This story is also connected to a series of books that revolve around Draycott Abbey and its resident ghost. I wasn’t familiar with these but have decided to read them since I enjoyed that element a great deal. If you like fast action in romantic suspense, or if you just have a soft spot for forgery, pick up To Catch a Thief.

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