Review: The Art Forger (or, White Collar in book form)
Title: The Art Forger
Author: B.A. Shapiro
Genre: Contemporary, mystery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—still the largest unsolved art theft in history—one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece—the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years—may itself be a forgery. The Art Forger is a thrilling novel about seeing—and not seeing—the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.
I have to admit that the main reason I decided to read this book was because it sounded so similar to one of my favorites shows: White Collar.
Art forgery and running cons? Check.
A good dash of humor and wit? Check.
Characters with questionable motivations? Check.
A dashing and lovable ex-con protagonist? Okay, so maybe Claire doesn't quite fit that description...
There was a lot to love about this book, and I was pleasantly surprised by the humor. I wasn't expecting that at all - I figured this would be more of a thriller, but it was really more contemporary with a little mystery thrown in.
The author did a spectacular job of convincing me that art forgeries are more common than we think, and that many museums are actually displaying forgeries instead of the originals. As technologies improve, there are even more sophisticated ways of figuring out if a painting is genuine or not; there are also more sophisticated ways to get around that. There was a lot of detail about art reproduction and how to get past common authenticity verification tests, which was really cool.
I liked Claire, but some of her past actions made me want to beat her over the head with the nearest heavy object. She was just so naive sometimes, and it was ridiculous that she went through with what she did for Isaac. And then kept on saying that oh no, of course she wasn't jealous/bitter/seething with rage. Ahem.
I liked the way the mystery resolved itself, and it was really cool to explore the art world. This book was a lot of fun to read, and I'd definitely recommend it!