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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Blood from a stone

Ever wondered where the expression "like getting blood from a stone" comes from? It does not, as some of you may believe, come from Giovanni Torriano's Second Alphabet (1662) but rather was an expression popularised in the early part of the twenty first century to describe the near impossibility of getting a book reviewed unless you are:

a) a first time writer
b) a celebrity or in some way related to a celebrity (butler, gardner, brother etc.)
c) afflicted by some (preferably terminal) disease or physical defect

I am, happily, none of these. And as a consequence am suffering the slings and arrows of editorial whim. It's a shame, as I know lots of reviewers have enjoyed and would like to review
The Geneva Deception, but are finding it hard to get the space. Still, all is not lost. The internet, which is fast replacing the mainstream media's book pages (increasingly the exclusive preserve of revisionist (again) second world war histories, 900 page biographies of Henry VIII's third torch bearer etc.) as where real book people go if they want to learn about books that actually sell - bitter, moi? - is stepping into the breach. Exhibit 1 for the defence is below from Books Monthly and I'll share anything else that comes my way - including 4 stars from Closer, I hear!

The Mafia, a secret society and the world's greatest treasures all converge in James Twining's all new jaw--dropping thriller featuring reformed art thief Tom Kirk. It begins with a young man hanging from the Ponte Sant' Angelo Rome, his pockets weighed down with lead whilst the current of the river below slowly tightens the noose around his neck. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, retired art thief Tom Kirk is asked by an old friend to investigate a case involving the theft of a long lost Caravaggio painting. When tragedy strikes Tom is left holding a blood-soaked body.

Back in Rome police photographer Flavia Salvatore has been called to the Parthenon where a second body has been found, but this time the body is surrounded by mannequins. When a third body is found crucified upside down in the middle of the ancient forum Flavia realises there is a sinister link between the murders. Someone is staging famous Caravaggio paintings. Suspecting the detective leading the case is corrupt Flavia begins her own investigation.

Spurred on by grief and the desire to avenge the murder of his friend, Tom follows a trail to Rome where he finds Flavia piecing together a similar mystery. Before long they both finds themselves submerged in a vast criminal conspiracy involving the police, politicians, the church and a secret society born of a pact between two Mafia families decades before.

Tom Kirk is the new James Bond - no doubt about it - the book simply roars along like a Formula 1 grand prix, with thrills and spills at every corner, every bend, every curve. James' ability to mix fact with fiction makes for superb reading - and Kirk's ability to get himself out of a tight spot reminds me of 007 himself. What's more, there are now four Tom Kirk novels and James doesn't seem short of ideas to keep the idea going for loads more capers. Far better storie and much better written than The Da Vinci Code, this series is crying out for either small or big screen treatment - not that that would enhance the reading experience, but it just seems to me that there's an opportunity here for something rather special. Brilliant stuff!

Also thought the following might interest you - an
interview with the influential Art Theft Central blog. Laters


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Early part of the twentieth century? Or did you mean now, i.e. early part of the twenty-first century?

November 07, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James just finished reading tgd and suggest it is your most polished work yet. Ialso like the fact that you are not afraid to kill off a key character. Good luck with the sales on this one. Kind regards gavin

November 10, 2009  
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April 14, 2013  

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