Art thief Riley Wolfe is a master of his nefarious trade but stealing a priceless fresco from the wall of the Vatican is surely mission impossible… or is it?
Jeff Lindsay, bestselling US author of the brilliantly macabre Dexter Morgan novels, is back to thrill, chill and make us grin with the second book in his full-throttle and wonderfully bone-crunching new series starring a heist artist and thief extraordinaire whose undercover antics would make even the great James Bond tremble with fear.
With his eye fixed firmly on outrageous entertainment rather than recognisable authenticity, Lindsay takes readers on the wildest of rides through deadly danger, devious double-crossing, some eye-watering violence, and villains of the darkest hue as Riley employs all his guile and wit just to stay alive.
After the daring theft of a Rothschild Fabergé Egg at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, art thief and master of disguise Riley Wolfe hardly has time to congratulate himself before he is drugged, kidnapped and transported to a remote island.
Riley’s mantra is ‘there’s always a way’ but this time his blind optimism doesn’t sound very convincing because his kidnapper is Frenchman Patrick Boniface, an arms dealer whose ruthlessness and violence are so extreme that it even terrifies other dealers.
Boniface, who doesn’t negotiate and doesn’t back down, wants Riley to steal ‘something special.’ It’s a priceless fresco, The Liberation of St Peter by Raphael, which is painted on a wall in the Vatican in Rome, a place with the highest security in the world.
But before Riley can even devise a cunning plan, he is kidnapped again by Bailey Stone, another arms dealer with the ‘collecting bug,’ who demands that Riley switch allegiance and deliver the fresco to him.
The stakes have never been higher, particularly as Riley’s art forgery expert, friend and sometime lover, Monique, will be part of the dangerous heist. And with the added complication of FBI agent Frank Delgado hot on Riley’s trail, this is going to be the hardest challenge yet for the crafty crook.
This super-charged sequel to Just Watch Me delivers the same visual theatrics and dark, wisecracking comedy that hooked in thousands of readers last year and made a star of the irrepressible Riley Wolfe, a modern-day Robin Hood who likes nothing better than ‘grabbing stuff from people too rich and privileged to deserve it.’
With its labyrinthine plot full of kidnaps, betrayals, double-crossing, and then more double-crossing, this is a fast-moving and ingenious adventure with some darkest of dark moments constantly offset by our canny conman’s wicked wit.
Expect a race against time around the globe, breathtakingly brutal baddies for whom sadism is a hobby, an impossible crime that puts Riley’s love interest in danger, and you have the perfect, full-on reading experience for chilly winter nights.
(Orion, hardback, £18.99)