Saturday, January 12, 2019

Reviews: Bodies of Art Mysteries by Ritter Ames

Enter the world of the shady art transactions and the recovery of lost, looted, stolen or misappropriated treasures. Agents work with some of the world’s finest art historians and provenance researchers to investigate the history of an object to support, or refute a claim. The work involves the repatriation of artwork and antiquities on behalf of governments and private citizens, and can take the agent across continents, whilst recovered works can total in the millions of dollars. Often, recovery agencies may find themselves in (sometimes, deadly) competition .....

Counterfeit Conspiracies
Laurel Beacham, premier art recovery specialist with a penchant for lycra, narrates our story:
As the foundation's leading art recover expert my life was pretty much a series of different hotel rooms every week. Tonight's event was one of a series of smaller jobs directing me to the person who held an art object I needed to return to the person or institution that had true ownership.
Counterfeit Conspiracies (Bodies of Art, #1)After a successful mission, Laurel trades her "catwoman" outfit for something a little more classier; however, this next mission finds Laurel in less than ideal circumstances when her efforts to recover a priceless icon go pear-shaped. 
There was no mistaking him. Propped on the john was the man from the photo who I was supposed to meet. Half of his handlebar moustache was jaggedly slashed and discarded on the floor, while blood from a gash at his throat spilled down his round belly and onto the cushioned turquoise seat.
And then there is the permeating question of Jack Hawkes, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up:
I tried to figure which camp he fit into, but got nada. With so many players in the art game, it was hard to keep everyone straight, both above and below ground. But a new American would have stayed in my memory, especially a tall male one with a deep Southern accent. Was it simple egoism, or did he work for someone plotting against me? My money lay on the latter. 
This is a fast paced game of cat and mouse, with plenty of plot twists and red herrings to keep the reader suitably intrigued. Think James Bond crossed with Lara Croft.

Marked Masters
28226631Laurel, now head of the London branch of the Beacham Foundation, and Jack Hawkes return for another adventure, involving yet another art theft:
If I couldn't bring back the painting, perhaps this book could be used as an alternate method to stop the blackmail. 
This starts where book one finishes and sets up book three nicely. Who is who, and what are their true motives, will keep you guessing till the end. 

Abstract Aliases
Abstract clues lead to new questions. New leads turn to “dead” ends. A heist plot ties to forgeries. Adversaries resurface twisting an already complicated case. And art recovery expert Laurel Beacham must not only outwit criminals, but keep her wits around Jack Hawkes’s cheeky ego.

Fatal Forgeries
When art recovery expert Laurel Beacham’s personal and professional worlds collide, she learns no good theft goes unpunished. Incomplete intel and a missing source compel her to make a huge mistake, and she’s left with a divided team. Every retrieved masterpiece has a price—and the cost of forgeries can be deadly. This time Laurel could lose not only her best lead, but also her most trusted ally. 

Bronzed Betrayals
A masterpiece swapped for a forgery, a murder victim left behind, and a relentless game of hide and seek keeps Laurel Beacham and Jack Hawkes on the run. They are racing to find answers despite roadblocks at every turn. 

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