I read so much in the area of mystery/detective/thriller novels, it's hard to pick a standout - but one of my more recent reads was Natalie's Art - and because it's a series title that truly stands alone, it's a fine recommendation.
To call Natalie's Art a 'mystery' would do it a disservice, though mystery is one element of its story. To call it a 'thriller' would be too vague, though there are many plot twists and plenty of intrigue that would appeal to fans of this genre. 'Psychological suspense drama' is a much more accurate descriptor; though even this doesn't begin to scratch the surface of complexity that is Natalie's Art, Book 5 of the Frank Renzi series.
Natalie's Art, is not for the reader of light whodunits or espionage tales, but for readers who enjoy psychological depth and complexity. A young woman inadvertently falls into an association with a deadly character and a dangerous career. A ruthless art thief plans to use Natalie to steal two priceless paintings from Boston's Isabella Steward Gardner Museum before he kills her.
Detective Frank Renzi is no stranger to danger. He is a dark warrior, fighting demons of his own - not your usual cut-and-dried investigator, but a man whose checkered background leads to both his gritty powers of determination and, sometimes, his downfall.
Natalie comes to realize that two thieves have placed her in the middle of their very dangerous game, and there is no easy way out from a chosen path of crime. There are many questions in Susan Fleet's Natalie's Art: Where are the stolen paintings? Who will die? Can Natalie truly be free from the choices she has made in her life?
The real tests of a superior thriller, mystery or novel are enough characterization to make protagonists feel real, and enough compelling, unpredictable twists to keep readers interested right up to the end. Natalie's Art embraces all these facets and steers readers directly to a logical, yet surprising, conclusion. And that's fine art, indeed.
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