Review by Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review, November 21, 2021.
Thieves of Paris is a historical suspense story that takes place during World War II. Ex-thief and soldier Max St Denis flees the Nazi invasion of France, only to find that his new job relies on his thievery skills for success.
Tasked with saving valuable paintings from the Nazis, including a piece especially dear to his heart, Max seems to fail in his endeavor—which only makes him all the more determined to eventually succeed against all odds.
As he faces smugglers, romantic possibilities, and challenges posed not only by his thieving expertise but a host of opportunistic fellow French citizens who hone their own skills for disparate purposes, Max moves through a world of expert thieves, forgers, and special interests that both dovetail with and attempt to thwart his purposes: “She had a point, that I had no right to jeopardize others with my obsession. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind that, with her help substituting the copy, my chances were very good and discovery was unlikely.”
Thieves of Paris is no simple story. It fosters satisfying twists and turns of plot, perception, and good and bad participants alike as war turns everything on end for everybody.
Who is in control? Everyone thinks they are, while, in reality, there are a host of special interests (and subplots) at play in Thieves of Paris.
With its roots based firmly in reality (Nazi art theft and the unfolding danger to Jews during their occupation of France), Thieves of Paris excels in blending the trappings of a suspense thriller with the historical realities of the times. This creates an engrossing series of cat-and-mouse interplays that will especially delight mystery readers interested in World War II backdrops.
The action is ongoing, the characterization and movies of Max and those around him well described and intriguing, and the story proves hard to put down. Its special focus on those trying to live their lives and do damage control in the face of simmering threats and controversies that reach into France’s art world and culture makes for an engrossing story, indeed.