The Last Painting of Sara De Vos By: Dominic Smith Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase
This is what we long for: the profound pleasure of being swept into vivid new worlds, worlds peopled by characters so intriguing and real that we can’t shake them, even long after the reading’s done. In his earlier, award-winning novels, Dominic Smith demonstrated a gift for coaxing the past to life. Now, in The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, he deftly bridges the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the golden age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth.
In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke’s in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain–a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she’s curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive. As the three threads intersect, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerizes while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.
I found out about this book from Mel @ Book Musings and had it on my wishlist for a while. I then encountered it again for a very good price and decided to pick it up. I enjoy reading about art and discovering the world of art dealing and whatnot through these thriller/suspense/historical fiction novels.
Still Water By: Amy Stuart Format/Source: eARC courtesy of Touchstone Books
How do you find the truth in a town full of secrets?
Sally Proulx and her young boy have mysteriously disappeared in the stormy town of High River. Clare O’Dey is hired to track them down, hoping against all odds to find them alive. But High River isn’t your typical town.
In a town where secrets are crucial to survival, everyone is hiding something. And the police clearly have an ulterior motive beyond solving the case. Malcolm Boon, who hired Clare, knows more about her than he reveals. Their benefactor, Helen Haines, is concealing a tragic family history of her own. As the truth surges through High River, Clare must face the very thing she has so desperately been running from, even if it comes at a devastating cost. Compulsively gripping and twisty, Still Water is a deep dive of a thriller that will leave you breathless.
I really enjoyed Amy Stuart’s first novel, Still Mine, but did not get around to reading Still Water right away. Many thanks to Touchstone Books for reaching out and offering a galley copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Dark Matter By: Blake Crouch Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
“Are you happy with your life?”
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.
Since hitting mass market paperback format, this book has sort of been following me around whenever I’m at the bookstore, lol. I had heard of it since it was first released but it was only more recently that it was finding its way further up the wishlist. As I was looking for a book to read when I went on holiday a few months ago I decided this would make for a good read. Unfortunately I didn’t get much reading doing during my vacation (opting to either be writing or sleeping when I wasn’t taking photos and wandering about) so I only got around to really reading this book when I got back.
Night Soldiers By: Alan Furst Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Bulgaria, 1934. A young man is murdered by the local fascists. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and sent to Spain to serve in its civil war. Warned that he is about to become a victim of Stalin’s purges, Khristo flees to Paris. Night Soldiers masterfully re-creates the European world of 1934–45: the struggle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the last desperate gaiety of the beau monde in 1937 Paris, and guerrilla operations with the French underground in 1944. Night Soldiers is a scrupulously researched panoramic novel, a work on a grand scale.
This is not my first Alan Furst novel–that would be Mission to Paris (review)–but this was the first book I had ever heard of by the author and it has long been on my wishlist. Well last year I finally got around to picking it up and reading it 😀
American Assassin (Mitch Rapp #1) By: Vince Flynn Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
Two decades after the Cold War, Islamic terrorism is on the rise, and CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield forms a new group of clandestine operatives—men who do not exist—to meet this burgeoning threat abroad, before it reaches America’s shores. Stansfield’s protégé, Irene Kennedy, finds the ideal candidate in the wake of the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack. Among the thousands grieving the victims is Mitch Rapp, a gifted college athlete, who wants only one thing: retribution. Six months of intense training prepare him to devastate the enemy with brutal efficiency, leaving a trail of bodies from Istanbul and across Europe, to Beirut. But there, the American assassin will need every ounce of skill and cunning to survive the war-ravaged city and its deadly terrorist factions.
It’s not apparent in this blog, but I do read quite a bit of political thrillers peppered in amidst all the fantasy, historical fiction, literary fiction, classics, and poetry that I read. I just don’t blog about it much, if at all, because I tend to blitz through them quite quickly, especially during the summer, lol. This book first caught my attention because there’s a movie adaptation coming out later this year and it’s about to occupy the Jason Bourne-hole in my heart (when John Wick isn’t around, lol):
But then it was funny because I picked up this book and I was pondering to myself that the author’s name was familiar. Aside from remembering when it was announced that he had passed away a few years ago (very sad, and he was so young too!), I remembered that this isn’t the first time I’ve read his books: I read his standalone Term Limits years ago (which I also remember thinking and rating it as pretty good). Anyhow, here we are.