Four years ago, what Matt Friedrich learned at work put him in prison. Yesterday, it earned him a job. Tomorrow, it may kill him.
Matt learned all the angles at his old Los Angeles gallery: how to sell stolen art, how to “enhance” a painting’s history, how to help buyers hide their purchases from their spouses or the IRS. He made a load of money doing it – money he poured into the lawyer who worked a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney. Matt’s out on parole and hopelessly in debt with no way out...until a shadowy woman from his past recruits him to find a cache of stolen art that could be worth millions.
Now Matt’s in Milan, impersonating a rich collector looking for deals. He has twenty days to track down something that may not exist for a boss who knows a lot more than she’s telling. He’s saddled with a tough-talking partner who may be out to screw him and up against a shady gallerist whom Matt tried to send to prison. His parole officer doesn’t know he’s left the U.S. Worse yet, what Matt’s looking for may belong to the local branch of the Calabrian mafia.
Matt’s always been good at being bad. If he’s good enough now, he gets a big payday with the promise of more to come. But one slip in his cover, one wrong word from any of the sketchy characters surrounding him, could hand Matt a return trip to jail...or a long sleep in a shallow grave.
In this first-person caper, set in the present day, narrator Matt Friedrich encounters a whole clockwork factory ticking toward deadlines... Author Charnes has developed a meticulously complex, rapid-paced plot... More excitement to come!
The Collection is a breezy read in the way the very early Leslie Charteris' Saint novels were breezy: entertaining with an underlining of grit below the surface... I'm certainly looking forward to more adventures in this budding series.