When Nicholas Brink leaves New York City to join Clay Guillory in Italy, he thinks he knows what he's getting into. Clay hopes to use Nick's connection to an antiques dealer to unload an inheritance of fake silver, and Clay's smarts and Nick's charm are the keys to pulling off their scheme.
... a thrilling story of passion and deception ... an incessant, fearsome tension, like holding your breath underwater. Bollen’s portrayal of the men’s relationship with the art world adds to the story’s persistent intrigue ... Daydreaming about Venice is an inevitable side effect of reading this book. Like the city itself, A Beautiful Crime is worth losing yourself in.
... stylish ... Bollen is a skilled purveyor of suspense. And he knows his overcrowded Venice ... Bollen’s wit sparkles on almost every page ... I wonder, though, if the dishonest and brutal world Nick and Clay inhabit could leave them quite as wholesome and enamored of each other as Bollen would have us believe ... Still, in lieu of going to Venice, which as Bollen reminds us is being 'visited to death,' you might want to settle for a few cuticle-biting hours with A Beautiful Crime.
His characters are as meticulously crafted as Highsmith’s, his plots as thrillingly constructed, and his meditations on loneliness and alienation as compassionately rendered ... What makes A Beautiful Crime work so well is how much empathy Bollen affords his characters. They do unspeakable things, but they suffer. They manipulate, steal and lie, but they are also fearful and hope for understanding. Bollen doesn’t let them off the hook. He is critical of them and makes them pay for their undeniably selfish deeds. No matter, we continue to care about them ... Most disarming is how smoothly Bollen tells his story. His language is simultaneously inviting and forbidding — accessible, playful, and then suddenly, shockingly brilliant. His characters, despite their cruelty and barbarism, are developed enough to feel real, honest and even (gasp) likable.