A lively satire, a loving homage, and a satisfying whodunit.


In Roth’s debut mystery, two artists attempt to track down a missing trio of young provocateurs.

It’s 2016, and Ray Lawson has settled down after years of making provocative art. Back in 1998, he was escorted out of his exhibition in handcuffs and charged with “practicing medicine without a license” as part of an art project. Nitro, the first exhibition, was comprised of eight specially made pills. “Each pill was a miniature work of art designed to alter perception,” Ray recalls. He refers to a rave review of Nitro in the New York Times in which the critic stated that the exhibit “would make [Dadaist artist Marcel] Duchamp smile.” Now, Ray says, he’s left the “fray” and returned to painting. He teaches at Columbia University and enjoys the relative quiet of his faded celebrity—until an acquaintance from the past interrupts it: Stuart “Pinky” Goldstone, the father of one of Ray’s former grad students. Jeff, Pinky’s son, was a founder of the NoLab art collective, which devoutly followed Ray’s work and created their own impish art projects. Now Jeff and the other two members of NoLab are missing. Pinky pays Ray to look into it, and Ray enlists fellow artist Victor in the sleuthing. Their investigation leads them to the Institute, a cutting-edge arts organization outside of Columbus, Ohio. As Victor and Ray keep digging, NoLab’s latest project takes shape—a project bound to upset some very powerful people. Roth’s novel is at once a sendup and a loving portrait of the fine-art world, and it moves quickly. At the same time, however, it effectively gives Ray time to reflect, and these moments are the highlight of the book. As a narrator, Ray proves to be an eloquent guide: “I never tired of what I witnessed on those streets,” he says of New York City. “Lower Manhattan was my Yosemite, my Galapagos, my Sahara. My La Scala, my Prado, my Bodleian. Every day was a revelation.” Of painting, he observes: “It now seems absurd to me that the one culture I flatly rejected was my own, the one I labored in for so long and knew so much about.”

A lively satire, a loving homage, and a satisfying whodunit.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9985073-8-5

Page Count: 227

Publisher: Owl Canyon Press

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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A smart summer escape.


Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon novel is a bit of a throwback—in the best possible way.

One-time assassin and legendary spymaster Gabriel Allon has finally retired. After saying farewell to his friends and colleagues in Israel, he moves with his wife, Chiara, and their two young children to a piano nobile overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal. His plan is to return to the workshop where he learned to restore paintings as an employee—but only after he spends several weeks recovering from the bullet wound that left him dead for several minutes in The Cellist (2021). Of course, no one expects Gabriel to entirely withdraw from the field, and, sure enough, a call from his friend and occasional asset Julian Isherwood sends him racing around the globe on the trail of art forgers who are willing to kill to protect their extremely lucrative enterprise. Silva provides plenty of thrills and, as usual, offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of the outrageously wealthy. In the early books in this series, it was Gabriel’s work as an art restorer that set him apart from other action heroes, and his return to that world is the most rewarding part of this installment. It is true that, at this point in his storied career, Gabriel has become a nearly mythic figure. And Silva is counting on a lot of love—and willing suspension of disbelief—when Gabriel whips up four old master canvases that fool the world’s leading art experts as a lure for the syndicate selling fake paintings. That said, as Silva explains in an author’s note, the art market is rife with secrecy, subterfuge, and wishful thinking, in no small part because it is almost entirely unregulated. And, if anyone can crank out a Titian, a Tintoretto, a Gentileschi, and a Veronese in a matter of days, it’s Gabriel Allon. The author’s longtime fans may breathe a sigh of relief that this entry is relatively free of politics and the pandemic is nowhere in sight.

A smart summer escape.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-283485-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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A rarity: a police procedural more deeply invested in the victims than either the killer or the police.


June 2061 is a perilous time for women in a downtown Manhattan neighborhood who happen to resemble a violent kidnapper’s mother.

The killer doesn’t seem to be trying to hide anything except his own identity. Ten days after snatching bartender Lauren Elder from the street as she walked home, he leaves her body, carefully dressed and made up, with even the gash in her throat meticulously stitched up and beribboned, where it’s sure to be found quickly, along with the chilling label “bad mommy.” When Lt. Eve Dallas and Detective Delia Peabody realize that Anna Hobe, a server at a nearby karaoke bar who disappeared a week ago under similar circumstances, was probably another victim of the same perp, the clock begins ticking down even before they learn that assistant marketing manager Mary Kate Covino has gone missing as well. Dallas, Peabody, and the helpers who’ve made Robb’s long-lived franchise even more distinctive than its futuristic setting race to find the women or identify their kidnapper before he reverts once again to the 5-year-old abandoned by his mother many years ago. The emphasis this time is on investigative procedure, forensics (beginning with the Party Girl perfume and the Toot Sweet moisturizer the murderer uses on the corpses of his victims), and the broader danger women in every generation face from men who just can’t grow up.

A rarity: a police procedural more deeply invested in the victims than either the killer or the police.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2502-7821-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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