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Now that the obliging Swiss are turning over Holocaust victims’ bank accounts, the FBI’s Taz Fallon is free to worry about the last round of spoils from the war: a priceless cache of looted paintings hidden away by Hermann Göring.

There’d be no hurry to dig up the hundred canvases, of course, if it weren’t for the complications Lindsay (Freedom to Kill, 1997, etc.) distributes so generously. As soon as Rölf Brunner hears about the paintings from the ancient war criminal, he wants them he because he can use the proceeds from their sale to finance his German Democratic Alliance’s rise to a new round of fascistic rule. Kurt Decker, the son of Hitler’s favorite commando, wants them because Brunner is paying him handsomely for their recovery. Sivia Roth, of the International Foundation for Art Research, wants them so that they can be restored to their rightful owners. And of course the FBI wants them because—well, that’s what the FBI does. (Lindsay notes with passing amusement the complete lack of appreciation most of the trove’s pursuers have of their value as art.) The pace ought to step up still further with the news that the first half dozen canvases carry unobtrusive identifying marks that will help whoever rounds them all up locate the other 94 paintings. But this is just where things bog down, with Decker’s goons and Fallon’s suits racing each other to one hot spot after the next, with just enough variation in the results to keep the pot boiling, as the good guys labor to crack an elaborate (and elaborately solved) code those foxy Nazis were using.

“And you thought art history was going to be boring,” Fallon tells Sivia Roth. It’s not, but this time, despite all the conscientiously planted surprises, it might be just a wee bit predictable.

Pub Date: May 9th, 2000
ISBN: 0-684-85403-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2000


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