"The Mafia, the art world and a secret society Tangle over a controversial picture in this rollicking"
Reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Posted September 29, 2012
Suspense | Thriller Arcane
The painting of a headless nude sells for $10 million at
auction, and Maddy Blume, an ambitious art buyer for a
hedge fund, wants to know why. Maddy's curiosity leads her
into the middle of an investigation way over her head
though, and we all know that curiosity often kills the cat.
The problem is there are others who want the same painting,
and they will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Among
Maddy's competitors for this masterpiece is a Mafia
assassin who needs this success to restore his reputation
and likely preserve his own life. At the same time,
criminal investigator Alan Powell works with the FBI and
local police to investigate a headless corpse found under
the Brighton Beach boardwalk. Powell suspects the Mafia but
proving it won't be easy.
THE ICON THIEF is Alec Nevala-Lee's debut and the first in
a series of the same name, and it's a thriller with the
twists and turns to keep any fan of suspense intrigued.
Moving from viewpoint to viewpoint, Nevala-Lee gives
readers insight to a number of his characters as well as
proving his mettle as a connoisseur of the art world and
the history of secret societies including the Rosicrucians.
THE ICON THIEF bogs down a few times when it comes to the
history of secret societies but not enough to detract from
the story. It's fast-paced and filled with action: everyone
watching out for everyone else. Anyone who can't handle a
bit of a body count should avoid this one. Any time the
Mafia is involved, the corpses tend to pile up. What's nice
is that it's hard to distinguish the bad guys from the good
guys at all times since so many of the characters have gray
areas and interesting histories. Nevala-Lee is definitely a
writer to watch. I'm looking forward to City of Exiles, the
next in this series.
A controversial masterpiece resurfaces in Budapest. A
ballerina's headless corpse is found beneath the boardwalk
at Brighton Beach. And New York's Russian mafia is about to
collide with the equally ruthless art world....
Maddy Blume, an ambitious young art buyer for a Manhattan
hedge fund, is desperate to track down a priceless painting
by Marcel Duchamp, the most influential artist of the
The discovery of a woman's decapitated body thrusts criminal
investigator Alan Powell into a search for the same
painting, with its enigmatic image of a headless nude.
And a Russian thief and assassin known as the Scythian must
steal the painting to save his reputation--and his life.
The murderous race is on. And in the lead is an insidious
secret society intent on reclaiming the painting for reasons
of its own--and by any means necessary....
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