Five criminals. Two forgeries. And one masterpiece of a heist.
Violet Winters—a professional thief born of a good, honest thief-and-con-artist stock— has been offered the heist of a lifetime. Steal a priceless Salvador Dali from the security-obsessed chairman of the Kilchester Bank and replace it with a forgery.
The fact that the “painting” is a signed, blank canvas doesn’t matter. It’s the challenge that gives Violet that familiar, addicting rush of adrenaline. Her quarry rests in a converted underground Cold War bunker. One way in, one way out. No margin for error.
But the reason Violet fled Kilchester is waiting right where she left him—an ex-lover with a murderous method for dumping a girlfriend. If her heist is to be a success, there will have to be a reckoning, or everything could go spinning out of control.
Her team of talented misfits assembled, Violet sets out to re-stake her claim on her reputation, exorcise some demons, and claim the prize. That is, if her masterpiece of a plan isn’t derailed by a pissed-off crime boss—or betrayal from within her own ranks.
Now then, regular readers will be aware of my fondness for a good heist story, be it in the movies (The Thomas Crown Affair is one of my favourites) or in print.
The Dali Deception is a fine addition to the list. It’s a cracking ensemble piece – Violet Winters must assemble a crack team to lift a priceless painting from an impregnable vault whilst various obstacles stack up in her way, including one very annoyed crime boss, Big Terry.
It’s all too easy for these ensemble stories to fall a little flat when it comes to character, but Adam has shown a neat flair for characterisation, with each getting their own moment in the sun. They’re all essential to the plot and all feel like real, well-rounded individuals. I particularly loved Katie. She might not say much, but she’s a refreshing change to The Muscle you normally find in such tales. The classics are all there – computer hacker whizkid, the wheelman, the con-artist, but they all feel fresh. And Big Terry is a character I’d love to see more of.
There’s a lovely stream of wit throughout too, with sarcastic put-downs, pithy one-liners and a real feeling of camaraderie amongst the gang.
However, you can have all the fabulous characters in the world but a heist story lives or dies on the strength of its plot. And The Dali Deception’s plot delivers in spades. Plenty of twists and turns along the way, with more than one moment of ‘how *exactly * are they going to get away with it now?’.
How do they get away with it? You’ll just have to read it and find out!
Many thanks to Adam for the review copy. The opinions are, as ever, my own.