Friday, May 16, 2008

Review: Theft of the Master

Summary: From the first paragraph of the first chapter the reader is drawn into this fast-paced drama, Theft of the Master.

This complex and intricate crime story is based on the chronicled accounts of Hitler's orders to transport to Germany valuable cultural artifacts. History tells us that by 1944, the Nazis had stolen more art works than anyone in history. This is the story of one stolen masterpiece and the consequences for an innocent family and a nation.

The intrepid and harried Private Investigator, Al Hershey travels through three continents to solve a murder, which appears inconspicuous but is actually irredeemably wedded to the stolen masterpiece. The chase that ensues to find the truth takes readers on a wild journey from 1493 Estonia, where events are first set in motion. The trail follows to murder in modern day San Francisco, Europe, and Paraguay via World War II and the mysterious Templars.

This fast paced crime story is filled with deceit, secret societies, and murder in an ambience of spiritual depth and mystery. -- book jacket

I have to admit that THEFT OF THE MASTER by Edwin Alexander is probably not a book that I would have picked up on my own. I was checking out book publicist Lisa Roe's website and thought it looked kind of interesting. I do enjoy suspense/thriller books, but I usually stick to best-selling authors for this genre. This time I took a little chance and I am so glad that I did.

I really enjoyed THEFT OF THE MASTER -- it had all of the elements that I think make up a good suspense book such as mystery, intrigue, likable characters, etc. There was also a bit of history thrown in! I especially liked the various plot twists and turns. I was hooked from the first few pages.

I really liked the character of Al Hershey, the private detective who travel across the world in search of solving a murder mystery. He ultimately finds out way more than he bargained for. His character was extremely grounded and determined, yet he also had a sense of humor. I loved how he kept mentioning his wife (who obviously kept him in line.) I think Al would make a wonderful lead character for future books.

The book covers a lot of time from 1493 to 1992, and the story takes place in many countries. I don't get out of the country much (like ever), so I enjoyed the author's vivid descriptions of Al's travels. It's very clear to me that he did a very good job researching the information in the book. The THEFT OF THE MASTER website has a neat section where the reader can learn more facts about certain things in the story such as chess, Estonia, Forest Brothers, Paraguay and Half Moon Bay, CA.

This is Edwin Alexander's first novel, and I think it is a pretty impressive debut. Mr. Alexander's background is in statistics (UGH!); however, he has been interested in languages and literature for many years. This is very evident throughout the story. I thought the plot of the book was well though out (and well-researched.) I also liked his writing style and thought the book was very easy to read. I hope Mr. Alexander continues to write novels because I certainly wouldn't hesitate to read his future books. If you would like to learn more about Edwin Alexander, there is a very interesting interview here.

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Andi said...

I feel like one of those kids who puts her fingers in her ears when she doesn't want to hear her parents talking about "it," because I'm not reading this review yet - I have to review the book myself - but I was glad to see that you enjoyed it (Okay, so I read the first line). . . . more later.

Andi said...

So I finally finished this book today - my review is here - and I'm afraid my impressions weren't as good as yours. . . . Sorry. . . But I love that different readers take things in differently.