Santlofer, an artist himself, knowledgeably guides the reader through the significant art treasures of Florence and Paris (where Perrone, oddly for an art historian, has never been), with plenty of action to goose the plot along lest the tone get too elevated. But his most striking achievement is capturing the divine and dangerous addiction that collecting art for art’s sake can become. Buyer and thief alike, beware.
... provocative ... As the story switches between Luke’s increasingly bloody investigation and Vincent’s heart-wrenching story, Santlofer brings unique expertise to this vigorously detailed story ... Suspenseful, lush with Florence’s glorious art and architecture, sexy, and emotionally complex, Santlofer’s multifaceted tale of how a passion for art can turn criminal contrasts the genuine with the fake and asks if beauty and love can truly be transcendent.
... outstanding ... Details of Florence, Paris, and New York City enhance the twisty plot, as does the insider view of the underground world of art collectors driven by deception, ego, and greed. Santlofer, himself an artist, should win more awards with this one.
Through Vincenzo’s story as well as occasional chapters that share background on supporting characters, Santlofer crafts a layered and absorbing art mystery, complete with exciting action scenes and beautiful descriptions of the city of Florence and its art as well as Paris and Nice. It’s the human story at the heart of it, though, that really elevates the novel. Vincenzo’s motives for art theft are both pure and heart-rending, and Luke, flawed and struggling, seems to innately grasp what the person behind the recent violent deaths cannot: A work of art, no matter how precious, cannot be worth more than a human life ... A must for fans of Dan Brown and Arturo Perez-Reverte.