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A beautiful crime : a novel
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2020
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Reviews

Booklist Reviews

Twenty-five-year-old Nick Brink flies to Venice to rendezvous with his lover, 27-year-old Clay Guillory. No, they're not on vacation; instead, they plan to scam an American zillionaire named Richard West, who is an avid collector. The two young men have in their possession five silver objects that had belonged to a man with a celebrated last name, van der Haar, an ancient New York family with whom West is obsessed. Nick and Clay know that the collector is dead set on acquiring the silver objects as much for their provenance as for their collectibility. What West doesn't know is that the objects are forgeries, which Nick and Clay are passing off as originals. To their delight, the ruse works, and they find themselves 750,000 Euros richer. But is that enough? A compelling read with appealing characters, Bollen's novel is deftly paced and plotted with a beautifully realized setting that brings Venice to vivid life. The result is a treat for both crime-fiction fans and armchair travelers. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

At the start of this stunning crime novel from Bollen (The Destroyers), 25-year-old Nicholas Brink leaves his lover and life in New York City to meet his new boyfriend, Clay Guillory, in Venice. There, the two young men set in motion a supposedly foolproof con to unload counterfeit silver on Richard Forsyth West, a charming, wealthy ex-pat American for whom Clay once worked and who's immersed in Venice's renovation. Clay inherited the silver from his last partner, the much older Freddy van der Haar. The sale will allow Clay to pay off debts incurred while caring for Freddy and allow the couple a fresh start. While the swindle fuels the plot, the story gains its strength from its look at gay romance and how individuals become a couple, as well as its view of shabby yet chic Venice, with its "fugitive magic" that lacks "the reality check of poverty and ugliness and ordinary struggles." Clay and Nick grapple with their morals and greed while remaining appealing. Readers will easily root for them to get away with the con. Agent: Bill Clegg, Clegg Agency. (Jan.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Annotations

When Nicholas Brink leaves New York City to join Clay Guillory in Italy, he thinks he knows what he's getting into. His more experienced boyfriend has come into a small inheritance from an eccentric bohemian artist: the windfall consists of counterfeit heirlooms as well as a share in a decrepit Venetian palazzo. Clay hopes to use Nick's connection to an antiques dealer to unload the fake silver on a brash, unsuspecting American. Clay's smarts and Nick's charm are the keys to pulling off their scheme. Nick is no naïve pawn--he takes quickly to Venice's magic and beauty and embeds himself in the city's monied social orbit. Clay, meanwhile, finds in the Floating City a chance to settle old scores. After pulling off their initial con, however, Nick decides that more money can be made in Venice to set them up for life--even if their next move involves drastically greater risks. As it turns out, nothing in Venice is as it seems, and more than one life stands in the way of their happiness. - (Baker & Taylor)

From the author of The Destroyers comes an "intricately plotted and elegantly structured" (Newsday) story of intrigue and deception, set in contemporary Venice and featuring a young American couple who have set their sights on a risky con.

&;Stylish&; a compelling take on the eternal question of how good people morph into criminals. Terrific.&;&;People, Book of the Week

When Nick Brink and his boyfriend Clay Guillory meet up on the Grand Canal in Venice, they have a plan in mind&;and it doesn&;t involve a vacation. Nick and Clay are running away from their turbulent lives in New York City, each desperate for a happier, freer future someplace else. Their method of escape? Selling a collection of counterfeit antiques to a brash, unsuspecting American living out his retirement years in a grand palazzo. With Clay&;s smarts and Nick&;s charm, their scheme is sure to succeed.

As it turns out, tricking a millionaire out of money isn&;t as easy as it seems, especially when Clay and Nick let greed get the best of them. As Nick falls under the spell of the city&;s decrepit magic, Clay comes to terms with personal loss and the price of letting go of the past. Their future awaits, but it is built on disastrous deceits, and more than one life stands in the way of their dreams.

A Beautiful Crime is a twisty grifter novel with a thriller running through its veins. But it is also a meditation on love, class, race, sexuality, and the legacy of bohemian culture. Tacking between Venice&;s soaring aesthetic beauty and its imminent tourist-riddled collapse, Bollen delivers a "brilliantly conceived international crime story" (Good Morning America).

- (HARPERCOLL)

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