The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
Algonquin, October 2012
pgs. 368, 5 stars
ABOUT THE BOOK: The Art Forger is a modern art thriller based on the 1990 heist of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The heist was the biggest in art history. The thieves stole hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art, including priceless works by Degas, Vermeer, Rembrandt, and others.
The Art Forger is about a female artist who paints reproductions, or copies of famous works, for a living. She has done some original work, but when the art world shunned her, she immersed herself in reproductions. One day the owner of a prestigious gallery asks her to forge one of the stolen Degas paintings in exchange for a gallery show of her original work. The agreement she makes could land her and her partner right in jail. But, jesus-christ-super-star! She has an original Degas in her living room that no one has seen in 20 years!
The novel delves into the technical side of forgery (I want to buy an industrial oven and bake canvases now), in addition to the history of the heist. This arty mystery is a joy to read. I was so engrossed in the descriptions of the art, of Boston and the museum, in the thrilling twists of plot, and the love story that I couldn’t put it down. Side note: I thought the parts where she volunteers with the kids in prison were arbitrary and not that interesting—however, I guess it was foreshadowing?
Anyway, it’s totally worth the read! I loved reading about my city and a museum with such incredible history.
ABOUT THE OUTFIT: My artsy little lady, you just can’t keep the paint off your clothes no matter how chic they are. Your burnt orange frock brings out the bright colors in the cover of your book, just like you bring out the bright colors in your canvases. This is also a color you should get used to wearing since you’ll wear it daily in prison.
Speaking of prison, this slinky chain necklace represents the physical chains you’ll wear for a short time, but also the chains on your heart (corny, I know) from the men who have taken advantage of you and your talent.
Your deep brown leather jacket shows your tough side. You’ve been the laughing stock of the art world, but you will persevere. It takes more than a little laughter to ruffle your feathers. Your Ray-Bans are sleek and dark, the better to hide your face from the press when they come a-callin’.
Your booties are wicked cute and nautical—just what Boston ordered. Your socks are a little frilly, but who cares? No one takes you seriously anyway, might as well be a little girly!
Purple liquid liner is simple and striking. The unexpected color completes your thrown-together look. Your pen (in the shape of a paint brush, of course!) is a must have for annotating this historical thriller.
About B.A. Shapiro:
B. A. Shapiro lives in Boston and teaches fiction writing at Northeastern University. She is also the author of five suspense novels THE SAFE ROOM, BLIND SPOT, SEE NO EVIL, BLAMELESS and SHATTERED ECHOES as well as the non-fiction book, THE BIG SQUEEZE.Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher at BEA, but was not required to review it.