A smart summer escape.

Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon novel is a bit of a throwback—in the best possible way.

One-time assassin and legendary spymaster Gabriel Allon has finally retired. After saying farewell to his friends and colleagues in Israel, he moves with his wife, Chiara, and their two young children to a piano nobile overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal. His plan is to return to the workshop where he learned to restore paintings as an employee—but only after he spends several weeks recovering from the bullet wound that left him dead for several minutes in The Cellist (2021). Of course, no one expects Gabriel to entirely withdraw from the field, and, sure enough, a call from his friend and occasional asset Julian Isherwood sends him racing around the globe on the trail of art forgers who are willing to kill to protect their extremely lucrative enterprise. Silva provides plenty of thrills and, as usual, offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of the outrageously wealthy. In the early books in this series, it was Gabriel’s work as an art restorer that set him apart from other action heroes, and his return to that world is the most rewarding part of this installment. It is true that, at this point in his storied career, Gabriel has become a nearly mythic figure. And Silva is counting on a lot of love—and willing suspension of disbelief—when Gabriel whips up four old master canvases that fool the world’s leading art experts as a lure for the syndicate selling fake paintings. That said, as Silva explains in an author’s note, the art market is rife with secrecy, subterfuge, and wishful thinking, in no small part because it is almost entirely unregulated. And, if anyone can crank out a Titian, a Tintoretto, a Gentileschi, and a Veronese in a matter of days, it’s Gabriel Allon. The author’s longtime fans may breathe a sigh of relief that this entry is relatively free of politics and the pandemic is nowhere in sight.

A smart summer escape.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-283485-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022


Succeeds as a domestic thriller and procedural—but there’s little heart to the story.

When a child goes missing, everyone—from the family to the neighbors—worries that their carefully kept secrets will be exposed during the investigation.

After being dumped by his lover, William Wooler comes home to find Avery, his precocious, difficult 9-year-old daughter, alone in the kitchen when she’s supposed to be at choir practice. A confrontation ensues, and William leaves. Several hours later, it appears that Avery is missing. The police are immediately on the case, interviewing the family and the neighbors for information, but instead of providing clarity, each conversation seems to complicate the investigation. Why does it take William so many hours to admit that he came home and saw his daughter before she went missing? Why does someone leave an anonymous tip saying they saw Avery get into a local teen’s car? Why had Avery’s best friend’s brother supposedly spent time alone with her in a treehouse recently? Each revelation leads to new suspicions, and some people will do anything to conceal their darkest secrets. The suspense here is real; Lapena does a great job of exposing layers of domestic dishonesty and betrayal one conversation at a time. But this also means that none of these characters is particularly sympathetic. The twist is real, and at least somewhat surprising, but at that point, everyone seems to deserve a comeuppance. The truth, in this neighborhood, is bruising—and no one comes through unscathed.

Succeeds as a domestic thriller and procedural—but there’s little heart to the story.

Pub Date: July 25, 2023

ISBN: 9780593489932

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023


Relevant and richly entertaining.

A lost masterpiece and a professional hit lure the world’s most famous spy back into the field.

Summoned by an old friend to the Amalfi Coast, Gabriel Allon finds a murder scene and an empty stretcher that could have held only one painting, a painting of inestimable value that has been missing for decades—Vermeer’s The Concert, stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990. Allon’s search for this cultural treasure leads him to an alliance with a Danish IT consultant—and gifted thief—and it will require the assistance of the team he once led as head of Israel’s intelligence service. As Silva’s fans will expect, this hunt for a work of art will quickly turn into something much bigger—maybe a rush to avert World War III? Over the course of 22 novels featuring Allon, Silva has vacillated between escapism and realpolitik. This installment is a near-perfect combination of both. One of the pleasures of a Gabriel Allon novel is that it allows us entrée into a world few will ever experience. But even as he might leave readers sighing over a Versace gown or a Michelin-starred meal, Silva asks us to take a hard look at what money can do. He shows us an underground economy in which irreplaceable works of art are used as currency or collateral—or, at best, end up in private vaults where they are protected but inaccessible. And the same wealth that makes commissioning the theft of a well-known and well-guarded masterpiece possible makes murder easy. None of which is to say that this is an anti-capitalist screed. This is a thriller, and it satisfies in the ways that a thriller should while also offering food for thought. And if the plot hinges on one absolutely outrageous coincidence… well, Silva’s fans will likely be willing to allow him that.

Relevant and richly entertaining.

Pub Date: July 18, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-06-283487-4

Page Count: 402

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

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