I was in a used bookstore one winter day not too long ago when I first set eyes on one of Karen Swan’s earlier work. The book was called PLAYERS and since it was on sale I said to myself what the heck and purchased myself a copy. I immediately started reading it on the way home and suffice to say we gelled the book and I, to the point of finishing it up in about two days. From then on I was on a quest for anything I could get from this author. Took me a while but I finally did it—as achieving my mission of reading each and every one of these newly-acquired gems ASAP, thank you very much.
You could say that her newest, THE PARIS SECRET, is no different. I immediately got into it the minute I received it from NetGalley and its publishers Pan MacMillan. Again, the author swooned me over with her tale of hidden artifacts and the people who suffer because of them. The focus this time is on a female fine-art agent who’s on a mission of tracking down the owner of a long-ago discovered painting, amongst other gems, in a long-ago abandoned Parisian apartment and which could bring big bucks to her aristocratic clients. Problem is they’d rather keep it all under the rug, which of course does not bode well with our heroine. For the next few hundred pages you’ll discover what it takes to make these people tick and to what degree our protagonist is ready to go to finally unearth the truth behind this hidden treasure—which, FYI, is as fetching as the many twists and turns and cliff-hangers the novel offers. You’ll probably even read THE PARIS SECRET in one sitting just to get to the denouement involving WW2 and the secret that could destroy a family.
Not only is the narrative fresh and exciting, the characters are well-drawn. The plot, which is inspired somewhat by a true account, is inventive in spite of the topic (missing art pieces) having been done excessively. If I have to find a weak spot I would say that the romance between the two leads, as palpable as it ends up being, is very predictable. But it’s a smidge compared to the enjoyment I felt reading this novel. The author has never failed to surprise me and of course I will continue to be overjoyed whenever she has a new book out. Hats off, Miss Swan.
Until next post—Martin