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The Geneva Deception    by James Twining Amazon.com order for
Geneva Deception
by James Twining
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Harper, 2010 (2010)
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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

The dead man was found by the Italian police hanging from one of the statues on the bridge the Angel with the Cross. Their first thought was that it was a suicide, until someone realized his wrists were tied behind his back.

One of a series of bizarre killings that appear to be stagings of famous Caravaggio paintings, this crime becomes part of an investigation that brings former art thief Tom Kirk and Rome police Lieutenant Allegra Damico together to solve a case that involves the Mafia, corrupt cops, the Vatican, and a secret society that handles stolen masterpieces.

After the death of a close old friend killed in Las Vegas during an attempt to retrieve a stolen Caravaggio that had vanished years ago, Kirk becomes a man on a deadly mission. He's determined to find the people behind the shooting and exact vengeance.

When it becomes apparent the Nevada murder is linked to the crimes in Rome, the unlikely team of Kirk and Damico decides to launch a private investigation to discover what is happening.

Although some of the novel's chapters are set in Las Vegas, Malibu, California, Washington, D.C., Switzerland, Monaco and Spain, ultimately all roads lead to Rome and that's where the bulk of the action unfolds.

The fourth novel in the Tom Kirk series, The Geneva Deception is, as the author explains, inspired by a Carabineri raid on a warehouse in the Geneva Freeport in 1995 and their discovery within it of over ten thousand illegally excavated antiquities worth $35 million. The resulting investigation implicated the mafia and raised questions over the role of some of the world's largest museums, collectors, and auction houses in the multi-million-dollar international trade in illicit cultural artifacts.

Those who enjoy a good thriller which delves into the illicit dealings of the art world will find this a very satisfying read.

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