Monday, June 6, 2011

The Art Thief by Noah Charney

Rarely do I come across a book that I simply cannot finish for the reason that I can derive no enjoyment out of the novel. Such is the case of The Art Thief. The title is what caught my eye initially. After all, white-collar crime, intrigue, and the fascinating cat-and-mouse game that follows always provide some excellent thrills. The Art Thief, however, fails to deliver in all of the aforementioned aspects. The writing is awkward, the perspective jumps at seemingly arbitrary points, and the plot already appears quite convoluted. Any one of these flaws on its own may be forgivable if, at the very least, the characters were well thought out and compelling. Unfortunately, this is not so. There was no way to “connect” with these characters since they were bland, forgettable, and uninteresting. Perhaps one redeeming character may have been Gabriel Coffin (a sort of Sherlock Holmes of art theft from the introduction), yet it wasn’t enough to maintain interest in the novel as a whole. The story plodded along with long tangents explaining the quirks of the art industry, the auctions, etc. but never found its stride. That fact is painfully disappointing considering how much potential it had when taking into account its subject material. Bottom line, books are meant to be enjoyed whether it be from a thrilling plot, a fastidious character study, or some other form of exhilaration that comes with the appreciation of the art of the written word. Life is too short for it to be spent on dismal literature. 1 star.

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