3 out of 4 stars
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The Art of Spies, by Robert E. O'Connell III, centers around a controversial case of two stolen paintings from the home of a private collector. Trey, being an art detective, is assigned to investigate this case to ascertain the validity of the owner’s insurance claim. With a hundred and twenty million dollars at stake, Trey is determined to prove that the owner of the painting arranged for it to be stolen and that this is a case of art fraud. While this is happening, we witness snippets of conversation between Trey and his psychiatrist about his childhood trauma caused by his abusive father. Events from his current case bring back memories of his past, making Trey think that his father might have a connection with this case.
To be perfectly honest, the book was a bit hard to get into. The author was too detailed in his writing. He would often drop names of paintings, places, and people that readers might not be familiar with. There would be pages containing names of paintings, its artists, what it signifies, and even some historical events. It would have been fine if it was done in moderation. As it was, it would only cause the reader to be disinterested in reading more.
The author should have considered that the people that will be reading this might not know these facts at all. Readers picking up this book are expecting mystery, thriller, and crime, not art and history lessons. If these facts are essential to the story, it could have been conveyed in a more interesting way. The excessive information dumping is the only thing that I didn’t like about this book.
Although the book’s descriptions can be excessive, its plot is still pretty good. The thing that I liked most about this book is the way the author presented Trey’s past. The author did a good job in portraying Trey’s PTSD. I also loved Trey’s relationship with his wife, Marie. I would recommend this book to art enthusiasts; I'm sure that they would enjoy this. However, I would not recommend this book to readers who are looking for an easy read.
The book was fairly fast paced. Trey’s investigation of his case was full of twists and turns. It’s the reason that I kept on reading it even though the information dumping put me off. The book’s plot kept me on edge, and I am sure that it will do the same to other readers. I found no errors while reading it. All in all, I’m giving this book 3 out of 4 stars. I would’ve given it full ratings if not for the constant art and history lessons.
The Art of Spies
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