Kirkus Reviews QR Code
PICTURES by Robert Daley


by Robert Daley

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 2006
ISBN: 0-15-101229-6
Publisher: Otto Penzler/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

A former New York cop working private security takes a job for the most unlikely client in the world.

Intrigue is brewing in an unnamed European principality that looks a lot like Monaco. Hours before his wife, Maria Cristina, goes into labor with the heir to the throne, commoner Antonio Murano, ex-tennis coach and ex-lifeguard, takes a big step toward becoming her ex-husband when he’s photographed in a honey trap by Georges Grizzard, a paparazzo who demands $100,000. When Tony comes up with only half the cash, Grizzard sells the photos to a tabloid, and Duke Augustin II, who sees them while his daughter is still in the hospital, promptly changes the locks on the couple’s villa. But the Duke’s wife, Lady Charlotte, suspects that Tony’s been set up. She contacts Probe, Inc., an American security firm that promises discretion, and they send over Vincent Conte, the new head of their industrial-theft division whose main qualification for this job is that he speaks Italian. No witnesses can tell Conte anything, so of course he quickly locates both Grizzard and Gigi Meyer, the honey he used to lure Tony into his Viewfinder. Now if only the players in the two-dimensional scam would quit dying . . .

Veteran Daley, who’s certainly had better days (The Innocents Within, 1999, etc.), provides a juicy but not very interesting scandal, some routine detective work and a tacked-on climax that provides the only hint of menace or suspense.