Little, Brown & Co., 2010 (2007)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ere's something new and different from Ian Rankin, renowned author of the Inspector Rebus series.
is also set in Edinburgh, but stars thirty-seven year old millionaire Mike Mackenzie, a '
self-made software mogul
' who sold his company to venture capitalists and has since become bored with life. He makes poor choices in seeking new challenges. The plot reminded me somewhat of a John Buchan novel in which a group of prominent men (of an earlier era) also sought to relieve ennui and took chances that might seriously mar their reputations.
n this case, Mike shares an interest in art with his friend Allan Cruickshank, an '
' banker. They attend auctions together and sometimes get together with art professor Robert Gissing, who is close to retirement and rants on a regular basis about art, which is '
part of our collective consciousness, our nation's narrative
', not belonging in vaults. Mike is very attracted to lovely auctioneer Laura Stanton, who looks very like the subject of his favorite painting, a portrait of artist Monboddo's wife. New to the art world is crime boss Chib Calloway, with whom Mike went to school and whose dark side oddly appeals to him.
issing makes a proposal to his two friends - to take advantage of
Doors Open Day
at the National Gallery warehouse, as well as the extraordinary talent for mimicry of student artist Westie and swap several forgeries for the originals. It's intended to be the perfect crime, one that no-one realizes has happened. But of course there are complications. Mike decides they need muscle and involves Calloway in the scheme. Chib has his own agenda, needing to clear his debt to a Norwegian Hell's Angels chapter. Detective Inspector Ransome, has Chib under surveillance and wonders about his meetings with Mike. The heist goes off, seemingly flawlessly, but then the crosses and double crosses emerge.
ike Mackenzie ends up in a horrific situation, threatened with extreme violence - a glimpse of that at the beginning sets the mood and creates suspense that pulls the reader through the novel. I found the friends' motives for the heist unlikely and didn't enjoy
nearly as much as the beloved Rebus series. However, this crime caper certainly opens some doors - and closes others, with a resounding crash!
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