Monday, August 12, 2013

A Cruise to Die forA Cruise to Die for by Aaron J. Elkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of the book through NetGalley, but as an Elkins fan, I had the first one sitting on my Kindle from a deal of the day awhile back. I read this book first--I recommend reading A Dangerous Talent, the first book, first.

A Cruise to Die For is the second in a new series by Charlotte & Aaron Elkins, veteran mystery writers with several other series. If you've seen the television show White Collar, you'll have an idea of the wit and sophistication they're striving for. The main character, Alix London, is the daughter of an art restorer who got caught forging paintings and a Boston high society rich girl. Fortunately, her mother died before her father went to prison, and thus was spared the humiliation and poverty Alix went through while her Dad was in prison. Bravely, Alix follows her own talent and becomes an art restorer as well. Dad is free now, in his 70s, and he and Alix are rebuilding their relationship.

In the first book, A Dangerous Talent, Alix became entangled with Ted Ellesworth and the FBI Art Crime Division and impressed him with her undeniable gift for spotting forgeries. Now they've asked her to sail along with potential buyers on an art cruise, on the fabulous yacht of a Greek magnate who may be running a scam. He sells shares in high-priced paintings--can you say Ponzi?

Full of derring-do and glitzy glimpses of the rich and famous, it's a fun romp. The descriptions of art and scenery are quite good, but there's something missing here that wasn't in the first book. It may be that Alix is on her own too much in this one, and she's not good enough yet to carry the book on her own. The ensemble cast is best. I am recommending the series--but start with the first one first!

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