Follow Here To Purchase The Collector (Detectives Chen and Castilblanco series)

Author: Steven M. Moore, (Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series)

Publisher: Carrick Publishing

ISBN:  978-1-927114-95-7

Art theft and child sexual abuse are an unlikely duo in the criminal world – those who purloin famous artists paintings for resale to rabid collectors usually move in different circles to disgusting perverts who prey on children.

Writer Steven M. Moore, in his new thriller, The Collector, has successfully merged these two criminal activities to create the latest in the NYPD homicide detectives Chen and Castilblanco series.    

The story starts with an anaesthetised woman in the trunk of a car. Groggy but becoming aware of her surroundings she realises she is not alone – another woman, similarly bound, shares her predicament. With no idea why she has been abducted, the situation turns really really nasty when two guys arrive and after a discussion, one of them, in a violent frenzy repeatedly stabs the woman by her side. Certain she will be next, the woman cowers in terror but the only puncture wound she receives is an injection to ensure her abduction and the violent episodes that followed are erased from her memory.

This was an intriguing start to what was an unusual plot with likable characters.

The fifth book in the series, Detectives Chen and Castilblanco are assigned to investigate the murder of an art dealer who, dear reader, just happens to be the ex-husband of the aforementioned woman in the trunk. After being injected with the ‘delete’ serum the kidnappers returned her to her apartment where after the discovery of her ex’s body she is interviewed by Chen and Castilblanco.

All she is able to tell them is: maybe something bad happened but all that she recalls is waking up at home dressed in her baby doll PJs with scratches and cuts to her face and hands.

Chen is sure she has something to do with her ex’s murder but Castilblanco thinks there’s a lot more than meets the eye to the art dealer’s death and the disappearance of some valuable paintings from his collection.  

 Chen, always eager to prove she is more than just a pretty face with a sensational figure, gets going on the investigation determined to prove the ex-wife’s involvement in the murder.

Meanwhile Castilblanco, whose body mass is best described as ample, sources donuts and coffee – great companions to spend time with while you work out the next step in a murder enquiry. After swallowing a couple of Tums he and Chen join forces to uncover a surprising twist in the case – it’s more than likely the murdered art dealer, a player in the international world of art theft, was part of a child pornography ring where children and teenagers were procured for sex trafficking and filmed in snuff videos (an evil big money making activity where children are videoed being molested and either killed during or just after the filming). Difficult to think of a more horrendous crime.     

The tone of the book becomes serious with this plot development as do Chen and Castilblanco. The pace moves up a notch when the investigation leads them to the home of a wealthy importer and art collector, an elderly German with Nazis past and present in his family tree.

Castilblanco was right; there’s more to this case than murder and art theft – links to a ring of wealthy perverts and those who provide videos to fuel their fantasies begin to emerge.

Chen and Castilblanco work overtime to put paid to this gang of weirdoes. And you know what? In a fast moving conclusion they do just that.

Steven Moore is an entertaining Sci-Fi and thriller writer – The Collector, a fun mystery with a serious side... good holiday reading.