Title: The Monuments Men Murders (The Art of Murder #4)
Author: Josh Lanyon
Release Date: June 30, 2019
Page Count: 199
Reviewed by: Maya
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Someone is watching. Someone is waiting.
Despite having attracted the attention of a dangerous stalker, Special Agent Jason West is doing his best to keep his mind on his job and off his own troubles.
But his latest case implicates one of the original Monuments Men in the theft and perhaps destruction of part of the world’s cultural heritage–a lost painting by Vermeer. Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander Emerson Harley wasn’t just a World War 2 hero, he was the grandfather Jason grew up idolizing. In fact, Grandpa Harley was a large part of what inspired Jason to join the FBI’s Art Crime Team.
Learning that his legendary grandfather might have turned a blind eye to American GIs “liberating” priceless art treasures at the end of the war is more than disturbing. It’s devastating.
Jason is determined to clear his grandfather’s name, even if that means breaking a few rules and regulations himself–putting him on a collision course with romantic partner BAU Chief Sam Kennedy.
Meanwhile, someone in the shadows is biding his time…
It would be very hard to accurately summarize this mystery, because at the beginning it seems like it’s clear cut case: we know who stole what and when, but the outcome is buried in legal technicalities and bureaucracy. This time Jason is collaborating with Dutch investigator who solved the case. But the case appears straightforward only on the surface as it appears to be hotbed of conspiracies once the story gets going. Jason also happens to be in moral quandary as he is investigating the case he shouldn’t (according to rulebook) but feels he absolutely has to. The fact gets him in hot water with Sam and considering the complications that dogged their relationship from the start this hurdle makes Jason wonder if it is worth it. Despite everything, he is stubbornly pursuing his course, deciding he will weather the trouble he would be in once everything comes out.
I appreciated the mystery and romantic plot (and they are very good, which I already expect from Lanyon) the art and history angle turned to be unexpected draw. During the investigation Jason reads letters his now deceases suspect wrote to home while he was away in WWII. According to author she used real letters to compose those excerpts. That’s the history part. The art angle is lost painting by Vermeer, which according to Wikipedia really exist. (or as much as lost painting does) The implications of its discovery are real.
Another thing that left impression was description on items Jason is looking for, part of Nazi looted treasure. Those were someone’s family heirlooms and have sentimental value above monetary and cultural. It’s still hot issue today.