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The Lost Van Gogh by A. J. Zerries
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The Lost Van Gogh

by A. J. Zerries

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A Van Gogh, missing since WWII, resurfaces when it is sent to the Museum of Modern Art via UPS from a mysterious address in Argentina. The book opens with a string of art couriers being attacked and NYPD detective Clay Ryder stepping in to solve the crime. From the flap, I thought it was going to be more mystery than thriller; I couldn't have been more wrong! Once I figured out it was a thriller, I was sold. Tight story, lots of twists, turns, shoot-outs, car chases, Mossad agents, old South American Nazis, boat chases, hostages, forgeries, and evil art dealers...and it's only 346 pages long. Museums, auction houses, art dealers, forgers and Nazi history create the backdrop for the story, but its plot is action-driven.

This is an older book (2006), but I was recently reminded of it while reading another; thus this review! ( )
  jennifersalderson | Jul 4, 2016 |
Detective Clay Ryder doesn't get much respect from his buddies in the Major Case Squad of the NYPD. After all, none of them think it kosher for a former SEAL to be interested in art. But art is Clay's passion and he has just gotten a spectacular case. Two Van Goghs, a matched set, are at stake. And at the end of a trail of black-market thieves and art movers might just be the catch of a lifetime - a bona fide Nazi.

I found this book at a library book sale and was curious enough to give it a try. It has several things that should have made it right up my alley - a tough-guy who has an intelligent side, art (specifically Van Gogh) and Nazis. Oh yes, I should have loved it. But I didn't. It took weeks to slog through. I stuck with it because I liked Clay... most of the time... but I didn't like anything else. Not the other cops, not the locales, there wasn't even a really good toady, just nothing. Some scenes seemed to have promise and then the whole next chapter was a bust. And then it hit me - two authors wrote this novel and published under one name. No wonder it felt uneven. So, I can't really recommend it for reading but I still hold out hope that some Hollywood script doctor could do something with it... ( )
  VictoriaPL | Jan 18, 2012 |
I can’t resist pulling something out of the bargain bins at my local bookstores. You know the really cheap remainders, usually books that never made a splash or by authors that have yet to establish themselves. Usually they turn out to be worth no more than what I paid. When one of these unknown works turns out to be worth the original full price, I am very happy. Such turned out to be the case for The Lost Van Gogh by a husband and wife team writing under the name of A J Zerries.

The book is about a New York detective, Clay Ryder, who works as the “art guy” for the Major Case Squad. Ryder becomes involved with a case involving art stolen by the Nazis being sold at black market auctions and the return of one painting in particular to the descendant of the original owner. Once returned, the story gets deeper, involving deceptions going back many years and surviving Nazis trying to regain the picture.

Make no mistake, this story is no Maltese Falcon, and the authors do not compare to Dashiell Hammett. There are a number of plot twists that, while entertaining, were not as subtle as they could have been. The action is well paced, the characters fairly well developed and the plot holes are minimal. This is written well enough, I could see someone optioning this for the big screen.

Hardly a classic detective story, it is quite good for a contemporary police novel. If you enjoy that genre, you should appreciate this book. The Lost Van Gogh should also appeal to action / adventure readers. All around good escapist reading and deserving a solid four stars. ( )
  PghDragonMan | Sep 6, 2008 |
This is a book I have to read for a book club group. I'm not liking it. I just can't seem to get into the story. ( )
  donattaclarke | Oct 9, 2007 |
From Booklist
As the "Art Cop," NYPD detective Clay Ryder doesn't get much respect at headquarters. Not only does he appear to have a cushy beat, but he's also considered stuck-up, when, in reality, he is filled with remorse over the death of his wife. Not that he has time to brood once two priceless paintings are stolen from a Central Park penthouse, and a previously unknown Van Gogh shows up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This smart, emotionally loaded, and strongly anchored art caper is the work of first-time wife and husband coauthors. The Zerries have made powerful use of the always-alluring stolen-masterpiece motif and also cleverly, and affectingly, linked it to the Nazi pillaging of Jewish-owned art treasures, conjuring up an especially barbaric SS officer believed to have escaped to Argentina, the clever Mossad agents on his trail, and the heir to the Van Gogh portrait, Rachel Meredith, a fetching and all-too-trusting film-history professor. Great action sequences, complicated characters, swanky settings, dramatic betrayals, and intriguing art history make for a suspenseful and provocative tale about the perplexing union of beauty and evil. ( )
  jlcampbell05 | Feb 5, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Neither of the two men trusted the other, but that, after all, was the nature of the business.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765312506, Hardcover)

When Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of Monsieur Trabuc turns up unexpectedly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art—a $50 million painting shipped from Argentina via UPS, like an ordinary package—the case goes to Clay Ryder, the NYPD Major Case Squad detective assigned to art theft.

Ryder discovers that in Paris, late 1944, a Jewish widow accused a German SS officer of stealing the painting. The officer was reported to have died in a car crash at the war’s end, and the whereabouts of the Trabuc between then and now remain a mystery. Ryder’s search for the widow’s heirs leads him to Rachel Meredith, who teaches at NYU. The museum presents the painting to her in a spectacular public ceremony that winds up on the front page of newspapers around the world.

Though the case is closed, Ryder can’t seem to shake it. When Rachel Meredith is attacked, she calls on him; what might be a simple assault doesn’t quite add up. And he still wonders who sent the van Gogh from Argentina. One of his most reliable contacts in the art world floats a theory that ties the van Gogh portrait to a black market auction in the 70’s that might have involved a Swiss art dealer and an international crime kingpin with unlimited cash. Then Israel’s Mossad pays Ryder a clandestine visit; the news splash about the van Gogh is the first link they’ve had to the SS officer in decades.

Meanwhile, art dealers, auction houses, and museums vie to buy the van Gogh from Rachel Meredith. When she refuses to sell, the situation goes from predatory to violent. Ryder has to race against time to outmaneuver a cunning mastermind who will resort to as many murders as it takes to get hold of the Trabuc.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:16 -0400)

"When Vincent van Gogh's Portrait of Monsieur Trabuc turns up unexpectedly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - a $50 million painting shipped from Argentina via UPS, like an ordinary package - the case goes to Clay Ryder, the NYPD Major Case Squad detective assigned to art theft." "Ryder discovers that in Paris, late in 1944, a Jewish widow accused a German SS officer of stealing the painting. The officer was reported to have died in a car crash at the war's end, and the whereabouts of the Trabuc between then and now remain a mystery. Ryder's search for the widow's heirs leads him to Rachel Meredith, who teaches at NYU. The museum presents the painting to her in a spectacular public ceremony that winds up on the front page of newspapers around the world." "Though the case is closed, Ryder can't seem to shake it. When Rachel Meredith is attacked, she calls on him; what might be a simple assault doesn't quite add up. And he still wonders who sent the van Gogh from Argentina. One of his most reliable contacts in the art world floats a theory that ties the portrait to a black-market auction in the seventies that may have involved a Swiss art dealer and an international crime kingpin with unlimited cash. Then Israel's Mossad pays Ryder a clandestine visit; the news splash about the painting is the first link they've had to the SS officer in decades." "Meanwhile, art dealers, auction houses, and museums vie to buy the van Gogh from Rachel Meredith. When she refuses to sell, the situation goes from predatory to violent. Ryder has to race against time to outmaneuver a cunning mastermind who will resort to as many murders as it takes to get hold of the Trabuc."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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