Book Blurb (from the author’s website)
As a young boy, Oliver York witnessed the murder of his wealthy parents in their London apartment. The killers kidnapped him and held him in an isolated Scottish ruin, but he escaped, thwarting their plans for ransom. Now, after thirty years on the run, one of the two men Oliver identified as his tormentors may have surfaced.
Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are enjoying the final day of their Irish honeymoon when a break-in at the home of Emma’s grandfather, private art detective Wendell Sharpe, points to Oliver. The Sharpes have a complicated relationship with the likable, reclusive Englishman, an expert in Celtic mythology and international art thief who taunted Wendell for years. Emma and Colin postpone meetings in London with their elite FBI team and head straight to Oliver. But when they arrive at York’s country home, a man is dead and Oliver has vanished.
As the danger mounts, new questions arise about Oliver’s account of his boyhood trauma. Do Emma and Colin dare trust him? With the trail leading beyond Oliver’s small village to Ireland, Scotland and their own turf in the U.S., the stakes are high, and Emma and Colin must unravel the decades-old tangle of secrets and lies before a killer strikes again.
- Title: Thief’s Mark
- Author: Carla Neggers
- Format: Hardcover
- Length: 332 pages
- Publisher: mira
- Release: August 2017
The book begins with a newly married couple of FBI agents, on honeymoon in Ireland, and the wife’s grandfather, and explains their connection to the main character, Oliver North. Then we switch settings to Cotswold in England where Oliver is present with an MI5 agent but he disappears from the scene before we get a chance to really observe him and instead, we are left with another elderly man, a landscape artist and other household staff. Finally, Oliver resurfaces on the telephone and explains that he’s about to “go dark”. He comes up for air in Ireland in another conversation with a priest in the US. As a main character, Oliver’s disappearing acts made me think I was supposed to chase him instead of the criminals and I enjoyed the dual roles that the author gave him. The intersection of these two major intelligence organizations – FBI (US) and MI5 (UK) made for an internationally appealing case.
The author includes a lot of diversity in terms of character ages and background and it was an exercise to imagine what the next characters would be like. The plot had sufficient mystery and intrigue to be interesting but the author also interspersed art and historical references that increased its charm.
I enjoyed the way the author moved around the British Isles so reading the story also felt like an adventure. Although the book is part of the series, it functions as a standalone book – true, I had no idea of how some relationships came into being but I think the author did a good job of introducing me to who the characters were now, even if I didn’t know their histories.
I didn’t think the cover was particularly attractive and the novel might have benefitted from a prologue that explained some of the background. Instead, we had a lot of detail surrounding almost every description, so there were parts of the narrative that were excessive explanatory. There were a lot of dead characters – people who we met only through their legacy because they had died before this installment in the story began but even in their passing, were still influencing the characters and their decisions. Isn’t this the way real life works though?
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book – I admired the way the author kept me engaged in a story that I was coming to late, I enjoyed the relationships and most (not all) of the plot resolutions – and I recommend you read it too so we can discuss.
The publishers have given me an additional copy of this novel to share with one lucky reader. Comment below with: “Thief’s Mark” before September 26 to be entered for the giveaway.
Can’t wait to see if you’ll win? Then click the links below to purchase a copy yourself.
Other places where you can read reviews about this book