- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1 edition (October 23, 2012)
- ISBN-10: 1616201320
- Source: Publisher
Claire Roth is a struggling young artist, making ends meet by reproducing famous works of art for an online art retailer. Desperate to get out of her occupational rut, she agrees to a shady deal with the owner of a prominent art gallery, Aiden Markel. An expert in Degas’ masterpieces, she agrees to forge a painting stolen in largest unsolved art heists in history in return for a lucrative fee and a one-woman showing in Markel’s gallery. Yet when the painting arrives in Claire’s studio she begins to wonder if it, in fact, is a forgery itself. While studying the history of the artist and his work, Claire discovers the truth about the painting, uncovering centuries-old secrets whose answers may help save not only her career, but her very life as well.
A truly intense literary thriller, Shapiro’s The Art Forger not only provides readers with an intense read, but also a truly fascinating glimpse of art history. Never a fan of art history myself (I know, I know) I was a bit wary when I received this book for review. That said, the thriller lover in me was rewarded, the level of suspense prevented me from tearing my eyes away from this book, allowing me to finish it in mere hours. Additionally, the characters are as multidimensional as the plot. Claire is desperate to rebuild her name after an incident with her former lover/artist casts doubt on her integrity as an artist. She’s desperate enough that she is willing to risk even more in order to obtain the opportunity to showcase her own art. Readers earn quite early on just how flawed her character is and rather than being repelled by this characteristic, one cannot help but feel sympathy for what she has been dealt.
In addition to the suspense and the incredible art history there is a good deal of steamy romance. Normally, this would put me off but I found myself becoming quite involved and invested in Claire’s love life, alternating between rooting for and yelling at her for her actions.
Bottom line, fans of both suspense and art history alike will be drawn into this incredible novel. Highly recommended.