Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Portrait of Malice

Portrait of Malice
Sanjay Sanghoee
Agni Books
Amazon Digital Services
July 10, 2012
Kindle $ 1.99
722 KB
316 pages

Everyone has heard about the art that was stolen during World War II by the Nazis, but never recovered. It always makes you wonder if it is stored in a Swiss bank or a hidden vault in some remote location inside a mountain.

However, there is the true story of the Goudstikker family who received international attention after the loss of their art which was sold to the Nazis, reclaimed by the Dutch government, and after a law suit, finally restored to the original owners. Portrait of Malice is based on this family's long quest to regain the art that was stolen from them.

Ethan Wolf is not enjoying life. He is a former police detective who had the bad habit of gambling and taking little payoffs. His wife is in a coma depending on life support. He needs the money to keep her alive. So now, he works as an insurance investigator, still skimming a little off the top, continuing to visit his bookie and owing too much money, in this dead-end job.

Ethan is being sent to Paris, France to investigate the robbery of many art masterpieces from a museum. He quickly discovers that the stolen art actually does not belong to the French government, but was taken from a Jewish family during World War II and was never returned to them. So how do you investigate stolen art that was already stolen? Added to that, the French law officials have their own problems without having outsiders asking questions about their internal corruption at numerous levels. Being stonewalled, Ethan quickly deduces that this is a dead-end investigation and discovers that he has few allies until he is arrested, one friend rescues him. Or is this a "friend" with their own agenda?

Portrait of Malice is a realistic, action-adventure thriller with believable characters. The problems of justice with the art stolen from the Jewish people by the Nazis with the restitution between the governments and the people, addresses the multiple issues facing the descendants of these unfortunate families. How can you prove ownership from papers that were destroyed? How can you prove your ancestry with the many documents that were destroyed during this time?

Sanjay Sanghoee has previously written the thriller novel, Merger. Daily, this New Yorker works in the banking and investment industry.

From Paris, France to the forgotten underground tunnels of New York, Portrait of Malice is a thrilling and engaging novel with a flawed protagonist that is still endearing. With the search for safety and dealing with low lifes while simultaneously entering the elite society events, Portrait of Malice is a memorable and educational novel.

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