Author: by Steven M. Moore

 Publisher: Penmore Press LLC

ISBN: 978-1-946409-02- 

Within the world of art there are many who would create forgeries, scams and use the greed of others to create bidding wars among buyers of paintings. Some of these sales are legitimate but many are not and when Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone is alerted to the fact that An Angel with Titus Features might be up for sale, her radar goes up, red flags alert he that something about this might refer back to a Rembrandt painting that was stolen during the second world war by the Nazis and slated for museum.

Learning more about the stolen painting but first dealing with the Bernini bust stolen by the mistress of a well known man, Esther has to deal with this first, returning the bust but the mistress has yet to be caught. Hoping she will reappear in the States the police are looking for her but when you read the graphic prologue you might be apt to side with her and not the owner of the bust. Mistreating her, abusive and violent her exit out was almost as priceless as the bust.

Meet Interpol Agent Bastiann van Coevorden who is smart, astute and who has a past with Esther. In order for Esther to get the information about this painting she calls on many sources that are within this art network hoping to uncover what looks to be an international conspiracy. A Scotland Yard Inspector, who is proficient and knowledgeable in stolen artworks, married three times and still cannot find the right mate. She an Coevorden are destined to work together to find where this painting is and how she can buy using a handler named Joachim Bidding on the painting and setting up an account hoping to be able to acquire it.

Author Steven Moore takes readers and art lovers inside the world of thieves, forgers and allows us to hear Esther, as she is taken blindfolded to the location of where the painting is supposed to be housed and realizes that she might have been tricked. Realizing that the painting is a forgery and then hoping to still recover it in some way, she and Coevorden, pretend to be lovers, attend a real auction and the events that drive the other bidders to drop out and the one remaining will surprise readers as Esther creates her own personal story of why she is there but the end result might not turn out the way she expected since the people behind this auction are quite dangerous.

Things take a different slant and turn when we hear the voice of Heir Dunst as Esther brokers a deal with this dangerous man and we learn the truth behind the sale of the paintings, the link to ISIS, stolen files which would help create a new version of the Marburg virus and a bioterrorist attack on London. But, both Esther and Coevorden are being held captive and will have to use their intuition and creative thinking when and if they find the files, try and get away from the two guarding them and hopefully get the painting and come out alive.

Gerard Dunst is not someone you want to play with and is a dangerous man whose only goal is to get more paintings and use the money to create a Fourth Reich. As the plot gets more complex and we learn about the scientists that are creating this new virus we also learn that some are missing but that does not concern him. Geizsler, the industrialist had his own worries as he was concerned about the missing scientists and the attack on Dunst’s factory that was housing what was needed for this pandemic to start.

Dunst Company’s headquarters was in Mannheim. Both Esther and Van Coevorden worked closely with the German authorities mainly Kurt Geiszler, when dealing with the paintings, Joachim and the auction. Karen Lietzke is the most deadly of all of this team hoping to get her hands on not just the paintings but making both Germany and Austria great. “Where Hitler failed, I will succeed.” But will she?

Esther Brookstone is definitely more dangerous than most of her adversaries and although forced to comply with their wishes and lacking a weapon you won’t believe the creative way the author gives her the power over her enemies. Digging into the files and hoping to find what she needed she located computer print outs in German. One problem solved as they translated to the type of WWD being used. Those against them bioengineered a new version of the Marburg virus which is more than terrifying. Talking precautions to make sure that what she delivered was not exactly what they found, she and her accomplice managed to change quantities and much more.

Questions that I will leave you the reader to discern: Did they already have a biocontainment facility? Just what part does a major drug dealer named Lopez play? Where does ISIS fit into this nightmare and what role can the many law enforcement agencies play to help solve the problem, protect them from the enemies and Isis sympathizers as well as neo-Nazi groups running this entire mission. The ending is quite ingenious as the author plays both sides against each other and Geiszler’s team might low open the vault door, but you won’t believe who he found dead behind it. Is this the end of the conspiracy? What will Esther and Covorden’s fates be? Who has the paintings and where will they go next because this team needs to solve the case of the missing Rembrandt and come back again before they dare to retire.