In this Australian crime novel, two strangers brought together by a man’s murder must expose the illegal artifact-exporting business behind his death before they too fall victim to a ruthless killer.
One night, former Olympic fencer Luke Montgomery finds a man dying of a stab wound in the street in front of his house. The man is Simon Blayne, a respected history professor; his last vague request is for Luke to warn Cassandra Linden, a flight attendant whose card is pinned under his lapel. Simon had met Cassie only once, when he gave her an ancient ring. When Luke and Cassie meet and begin to investigate the murder, they discover that Simon was on the verge of exposing a criminal enterprise that forged documents in order to legitimize the theft of artifacts from museums for personal collections. One such artifact is the ring Simon gave Cassie. Now that she possesses it, Simon’s murderers are on her tail. Things get more complicated when Luke discovers that his father has involved the family’s respected exporting business in the crimes; the criminals tell Luke to join the company or he’ll be killed, too. Caught between the cops and a hardened killer named Tolley, Luke and Cassie must race around Australia uncovering evidence before the body count rises even higher. Once readers get caught up in De Michiel’s (Orchestrated Fate, 2013) novel, they’ll find it to be one of the more unique thrillers in recent memory. The Australian setting and historical aspects of the plot add intrigue, while the chemistry between the two complex lead characters will make readers all the more invested in their relationship and fates. The standout is Tolley, a perfectly drawn villain who sees murder as a ritualistic celebration of life and whose creepy interactions with Cassie will send shivers down readers’ spines.
A top-notch thriller with colorful characters and enough plot twists to satisfy without making readers’ heads spin.