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Twining, James - 'The Geneva Deception'
Paperback: 560 pages (Oct. 2009) Publisher: Harper ISBN: 0007230435

THE GENEVA DECEPTION is a cleverly written, fast-paced book by James Twining and one of a series featuring Tom Kirk - a reformed art thief. The idea for the story is based on a real-life raid on a bonded warehouse in Geneva that revealed millions of pounds worth of stolen artifacts. Interestingly, all of the places, art and artists in the book are also real and accurately described, including a painting that was stolen more than 40 years ago, and is still unaccounted for, that forms the central focus of the story. This only adds to the tension and realism in the plot.

The story is set mostly in Italy, with brief forays into the USA and Switzerland as well. It starts in Rome, with the discovery of two rather gruesome murders in quick succession - and then a third one shortly after that. There seems to be a link between the murders and pretty soon Lieutenant Allegra Damico is up to her neck in the case. She finds out far too much and someone in charge, who wants to stop the truth from being exposed, pins another murder on her in order to flush her out and stop her.

Meanwhile, Tom Kirk is in the USA for his grandfather’s funeral. He is persuaded to help an old FBI friend with the recovery of a stolen painting and grudgingly obliges, only to be in the frame for murder himself when his friend gets shot by a sniper. Kirk escapes from the clutches of the FBI and flees to Italy to get to the bottom of things.

Kirk and Allegra bump into each other in the house of a suspect that is common to both of their cases. It doesn’t take them long to determine that their cases are linked far more closely than this, so they join forces and work together: uncovering a whole world of smuggling, theft, fraud and deception in the process.

All in all, this was a most enjoyable read and an ideal book to curl up on the sofa with now that the nights are drawing in. I finished this book in three days and am feeling rather flat now that it is over. Some parts of the plot were quite straightforward, while others required some thought to fit together correctly. It was impossible to guess the ending, and its rather clever twist leaves you with more questions than answers - just how I like it!

I am very tempted to start from the beginning with this series about Tom Kirk and get to know him a little better. James Twining could well be added to my favourites for this year.

Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
November 2009

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 21/11/2009 19:30