Art of the Chase by Jennifer Giacalone

When a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi is stolen from a gallery in Florence, it is thought to be the work of elusive art thief Gustav, nemesis of Fleur van Beekhof, agent with Europol’s Amsterdam Art Crimes Division. Six years before, Fleur and her partner Renata had failed to capture Gustav and everything in her life had since gone wrong. On arriving in Italy, she discovers that she is expected to work with Renata, her ex-wife who she has not spoken to since their acrimonious divorce. Despite having very different temperaments, they work well together despite the unfinished business between them. What follows is part road trip, part detective story and part romance. I enjoyed the investigation into the art theft and the trip round Europe more than the romance in this story. At times it felt like there was just too much going on.

The characters are well drawn and believable, the various cities they travel to are vividly brought to life, and the art world is well researched and convincing. Although the narrative deals with some serious topics such as gambling addiction, fraud and forgery, the witty (sarcastic) dialogue between Fleur and Renata keeps things from becoming too dark. The story is mostly told from Fleur’s point of view, which means that we have no idea what is going on in Renata’s head . At first I did not take to her, she just seemed to be ‘too much’, but over time I came to appreciate her way of thinking. On a personal level, this is a story about redemption and second chances – the question is will Fleur and Renata be able to work through their differences and make a fresh start?

I’ve read a few books recently set in the art world, and Art of the Chase is one of the better ones. I would love to read more detective stories focused around art as it’s a vast and fascinating subject. I thoroughly enjoyed Art of the Chase, and would be interested in reading more books featuring Fleur and Renata, especially if there was not so much emphasis on their personal relationship. Thanks to the author for a digital copy that I review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT