Tom Kirk is the new James Bond - no doubt about it - the book simply roars along like a Formula 1 grand prix, with thrills and spills at every corner, every bend, every curve. James' ability to mix fact with fiction makes for superb reading - and Kirk's ability to get himself out of a tight spot reminds me of 007 himself. What's more, there are now four Tom Kirk novels and James doesn't seem short of ideas to keep the idea going for loads more capers. Far better stories and much better written than The Da Vinci Code, this series is crying out for either small or big screen treatment - not that that would enhance the reading experience, but it just seems to me that there's an opportunity here for something rather special. Brilliant stuff!
THE GENEVA DECEPTION is a cleverly written, fast-paced book by James Twining and one of a series featuring Tom Kirk - a reformed art thief. The idea for the story is based on a real-life raid on a bonded warehouse in Geneva that revealed millions of pounds worth of stolen artifacts. Interestingly, all of the places, art and artists in the book are also real and accurately described, including a painting that was stolen more than 40 years ago, and is still unaccounted for, that forms the central focus of the story. This only adds to the tension and realism in the plot.
All in all, this was a most enjoyable read and an ideal book to curl up on the sofa with now that the nights are drawing in. I finished this book in three days and am feeling rather flat now that it is over. Some parts of the plot were quite straightforward, while others required some thought to fit together correctly. It was impossible to guess the ending, and its rather clever twist leaves you with more questions than answers - just how I like it!
I am very tempted to start from the beginning with this series about Tom Kirk and get to know him a little better. James Twining could well be added to my favourites for this year.
I came new to James Twining's series featuring former art thief, and poacher-turned-gamekeeper, Tom Kirk, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of this book in any way.
The story opens with an inventive murder under the Pont Sant' Angelo in Rome, with the victim weighted down with lead in his pockets, being slowly strangled by a noose around his neck as the river drags him along with it. A series of equally bizarre killings finally lead Italian detective Lieutenant Allegra Damico to work out their connection, both to each other and the shady world of the arts and antiquities trade.
While all this is taking place, on the other side of the Atlantic in Las Vegas, Tom Kirk is asked to assist an old flame in the FBI with the recovery of a Caravaggio painting, which disappeared after a theft 40 years ago. The recovery goes badly wrong and Tom finds himself on the run from the FBI, who suspect that he may have reverted to his old habits.
The focus of the book quickly shifts to Italy where Tom is thrown together with Allegra, who is by then also on the run, but this time from what appears to be criminal elements even within her own department.
The book is well-paced and entertaining. The author draws very heavily on the work of Peter Watson and Cecilia Todeschini and their book THE MEDICI CONSPIRACY (which is in itself a great read). Twining uses their insights to provide a fascinating look into the seedier side of the arts trade and its connections with what has been described as the second oldest profession in the world – grave-robbing. The activities of the 'tombaroli', as they are known, are well-described and there is a tense scene in the book when its protagonists find themselves trapped inside an ancient Etruscan tomb.
In common with so many thrillers of this type, the book does feature such elements as the mafia and a secret society whose talismans have to be brought together to form a key, but don't let that put you off and, thankfully, neither the Holy Grail nor the Illuminati are mentioned. The book is an enjoyable – and informative – read. I'll definitely try the others on the strength of this one.
Reviewing the Evidence