A war veteran and a concert pianist face a deadly rival over stolen art.
Nearly a year after pianist Magdalena O’Shea lost her husband in a shattering confrontation with an evil man known only as Dane, dreams of his death still haunt her. But at least she’s not alone: Retired Col. Michael Jefferson Beckett, her protector-turned-lover, has taken Maggie to a mountain retreat to help her overcome her fear and guilt as she prepares for a comeback concert at Carnegie Hall. In the meantime, Dane has gotten a new face, thanks to plastic surgery, and a new purpose: to break Maggie’s fingers one by one. His other obsession is his continuing quest for a cache of art stolen from a Jewish gallery owner during World War II. But Gisela Donati, an Austrian musician who stole from the thieves when she was a child, now wants to return some of the artworks to their rightful owner’s heir, and Beckett brings in his friend and ex-Marine Simon “Sugar” Sugarman to help with the task. One of the missing pieces, Dark Rhapsody, a haunting painting by Matisse, was once in Maggie’s parents’ safekeeping, and their connection to the painting—and to members of Yale University’s most prestigious secret society—leaves Maggie with more disturbing childhood flashbacks and unanswered questions. Why did her conductor father walk offstage in the middle of a performance and out of her life, and how did her mother really die? In pursuit of answers and art and one another, the principal characters cross oceans and countries, swap aphorisms from St. Francis of Assisi and Elvis, and find time for romantic attachment, both human and otherwise, as past events and present dangers converge over Dark Rhapsody.
Although this intercontinental race/chase relies far too much on its predecessor (The Lost Concerto, 2016), Mario hooks you with layers of mysteries almost completely enough to overcome the sentimentality seeping out between perils.