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The Geneva Deception [Paperback]

James Twining
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Oct 2009

Mafia, a secret society and the world’s greatest treasures all converge in James Twining’s all new jaw–dropping thriller featuring reformed art thief Tom Kirk

It begins with a young man hanging from the Ponte Sant' Angelo Rome, his pockets weighed down with lead whilst the current of the river below slowly tightens the noose around his neck.

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, retired art thief Tom Kirk is asked by an old friend to investigate a case involving the theft of a long lost Caravaggio painting. When tragedy strikes Tom is left holding a blood-soaked body.

Back in Rome Art Protection Squad officer Allegra Damico has been called to the Parthenon where a second body has been found, It begins with a young man hanging from the Ponte Sant' Angelo Rome, his pockets weighed down with lead whilst the current of the river below slowly tightens the noose around his neck.

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, retired art thief Tom Kirk is asked by an old friend to investigate a case involving the theft of a long lost Caravaggio painting. When tragedy strikes Tom is left holding a blood-soaked body.

Back in Rome police Lieutenant Allegra Damico has been called to the Parthenon where a second body has been found, but this time the body is surrounded by mannequins. When a third body is found crucified upside down in the middle of the ancient forum Allegra realises there is a sinister link between the murders. Someone is staging famous Caravaggio paintings. Suspecting the detective leading the case is corrupt Allegra begins her own investigation.

Spurred on by grief and the desire to avenge the murder of his friend, Tom follows a trail to Rome where he finds Allegra piecing together a similar mystery. Before long they both find themselves submerged in a vast criminal conspiracy involving the police, politicians, the church and a secret society born of a pact between two Mafia families decades before.

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The Geneva Deception + The Gilded Seal + The Black Sun
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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (15 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007230435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007230433
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Twining graduated from Oxford University with a degree in French Literature. He started writing after a brief career in investment banking and as an entrepreneur. James lives in London with his wife and two daughters.

Product Description


Praise for James Twining:

‘Crackles along’ Daily Mail

‘James Twining knows how to grip’ Times Literary Supplement

‘The narrative is fast-paced and the result is highly entertaining’ Peter Gutteridge

‘If there's a better thriller this year I would like to see it' Jack Higgins

‘Twining is a worthy successor to Forsyth, Follett, and Higgins. Highly recommended' Christopher Reich

‘Far better stories and much better written than The Da Vinci Code, this series is crying out for either small or big screen treatment - Brilliant stuff!’

‘…if you loved The Da Vinci Code, this is for you!’ Closer

From the Author

1. When did you start writing?
I was not one of these people who grew up desperate to be a writer. In fact when I wrote my first book, The Double Eagle, in 2004, it was the first time I had attempted to write any fiction since my Third Form poetry competition! That said, when I was clearing out my parents’ garage a few years ago, I came across a couple of old notebooks crammed with random plot and character ideas. I don’t remember writing any of it, but perhaps some small corner of my brain has wanted to be an author all along. It just took a while for the rest of me to catch up.

2. Where do you write?
The last two books have mainly been written in the Humanities Reading Room at the British Library. I get too easily distracted at home, although the coffee is a lot cheaper. I usually sit in the same place and get very annoyed if someone else gets there first.

3. What are the pros and cons of being a writer?
Every job has its good and bad points. Writing can be a very lonely business that lacks the camaraderie and company that a normal office workplace provides. It can also be, contrary to most people's belief in free-flowing artistic inspiration, a seemingly endless process of re-writing, editing and proofing that tests your patience and your resolve to the very limit. However, it is also a very rewarding experience in terms of both the creative outlet that it provides, which so many jobs never give you the opportunity to explore, and the pleasure provided by producing something that other people enjoy. Overall, it’s worth the pain.

4. What writers have inspired you?
I’m told that when I was twelve, I went on holiday to the South of France. If I sound uncertain, then it’s because I can’t remember a single thing about it. On the flight out, I picked up a copy of Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity at the airport bookshop and sat, utterly bewitched, until I finished the last page of The Bourne Ultimatum on the flight home a week later, having tracked both it and The Bourne Supremacy down in Nice’s only English language bookshop. Having mainlined Ludlum, I discovered that I had established a thriller habit that my French Literature degree only briefly interrupted. I soon turned to Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler to get my fix, before crossing back over the Atlantic to feed my addiction with Ian Fleming, Frederick Forsyth, Jack Higgins and Ken Follett, to name but a few. It is not the best written book I have ever read and other books have affected me more deeply. The Great Gatsby, by Fitzgerald achieves that rare feat of combining a brilliant story with an almost poetic reflection on love, money, class and the empty heart of the American Dream. I still turn to it now, whenever I am feeling low or lacking inspiration, opening a page at random and just diving in. But nothing will ever match that first, breathless encounter with Jason Bourne, the way he grabbed me from the very first page, carried me in his wake like a passing storm, and then deposited me, 400 pages later, desperate for more. It opened my eyes to a world of possibility and excitement. When I came to write my own novels years later, there was never any chance I’d write anything else.

5. How important is a sense of place in your writing?
People often also describe my books as being cinematic. This isn’t me trying to dress a screenplay up as a novel, but a deliberate attempt to place the reader directly within the scene, reflecting my own sense that the modern reader, thanks to TV and the cinema, need to be able to really visualize the action to connect with it. Providing a strong and believable sense of place also anchors the realism and credibility of the whole novel and makes for an interesting dynamic as readers are left unsure where the fiction begins or ends.

6. Do you spend a lot of time researching your novels?
My novels are based around real events, works of art and places, all of which involves a lot of research. The latest book, for example, The Geneva Deception, is based on the global trade in illicitly excavated antiquities, as well as the ongoing search for a priceless Carravaggio stolen by the Mafia in the 1960s. My research typically involves reading various text books, visiting as many of the places described in the book as I can, and immersing myself on-line for weeks at a time. Cracking safes, picking locks, smuggling weapons, counterfeiting paintings - it’s amazing what you can find if you know where to look!

7. Do your characters ever surprise you?
Of course. Although I spend a lot of time thinking about all the different characters and plot lines and how they all fit together before I even pick up a pen, every so often you have to just sit back and let the character take over and drive for a little rather than force them to do or say something they just wouldn’t. This can be a little scary, but it’s exciting too, especially with the villains where you can really let them run riot.

8. How much of your life and the people around you do you put into your books?
Inevitably much more than I probably even realize myself. It’s no coincidence that Tom Kirk, my art thief hero, for example, shares my love of backgammon and expensive watches, or that several of the books take place in Paris where I lived as a child, or that pinball machines feature in most of the books. And quite a few of the characters are named after friends of mine (which I then take a perverse delight in killing off), or are Frankenstein creations, having been sown together from different aspects of people I know or have met.

9. How did it feel when you saw your book in print for the first time?

I have to admit to not really remembering seeing the book in print for the first time. What I do remember, however, is seeing it in Borders at the airport the week after it was published. I was on my way to the US and had been given a whole bay to myself, with a big poster overhead. Having had my own love of thrillers triggered by buying The Bourne Identity in an airport nearly twenty years before, it gave me a real sense of achievement, and of my journey from reader to writer coming full circle, to see my book out there alongside all the writers I had grown up reading. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing now? Plotting my next heist!

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Geneva Deception 9 Nov 2009
By I. B. Pitbladdo VINE VOICE
I enjoyed the first two books by this author however the third 'The Gilded Seal' while not bad didn't quite hit the spot for me. This latest offering however is excellent. The characters are likeable the pace is swift and the action relentless. In the mix there is a wealth of interesting little factlets (is that a new word?)about art and history.
The plot is fairly complex and there are a lot of players to remember. However, the chapters are mercifully quite short allowing you tidy places to stop reading when you need to get on with something else, unlike some writers who rabbit on for ages without pause.

You are probably reading this because you have a particular liking for this sort of story. At over five hundred pages it represents good value for money and I don't think it will disappoint.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 12 Nov 2009
I've read all the other Tom Kirk books but the author has totally excelled himself this time! It was gripping from the first page to the last paragraph. Can't wait for the next one!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pay Attention 30 Nov 2009
You have to pay attention when reading the Geneva Deception because it has one of the most convoluted thriller plots I have read in a long time. The fourth book by James Twining, it once again features retired art thief Tom Kirk, who readers were first introduced to in The Double Eagle. This time Kirk is up against, variously, corrupt art dealers, the Mafia, tomb robbers, the Italian authorities and the Vatican as he investigates a decades old conspiracy. To add further spice to events this time Kirk's quest is motivated by revenge after an old and very close friend is murdered.

If this very brief synopsis, and the mention of the vatican & art dealers, suggests that The Geneva Deception (a horrible title reminiscent of the worst airport thrillers) is nothing more than a Dan Brown clone then be reassured that it isn't. The conspiracy uncovered here is not an improbable, world changing one; just a profitable and all too plausible criminal enterprise. There are no albino monk assassins or ancient secret societies at work; unless you count the Mafia amongst the latter (the only assassin is just a straight forward and anonymous killer for hire). Most importantly the story is not a a tiresome, linear chase reliant on secrets hidden in famous work of art or monuments recounted in turgid and prosaic prose; its well paced, for the most part logical (the explanation for one character's actions, including a cold blooded murder, don't really stand up to scrutiny) and relies on characters undertaking an actual investigation rather than on serendipity and their pre-existing knowledge.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good read 8 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
James Twining at his best. I recommend this book to anyone interested in reading a tense thriller that will have you turning the pages quicker than you can read them
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5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning good read 28 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yet again James Twining does not disappoint. Edge of your armchair stuff. Difficult to put this book down and get on with something else. Highly recommend it to others for an exciting read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars holiday reader 3 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was a bit disappointed by this novel, I had read the previous ones some time ago, and enjoyed them. But I found this one much more predictable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 21 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book , kept me hooked. Could not put it down and was sad when I had finished it. Well worth a read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful page turner 9 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a journey this book kept me awake night after night. I couldn't put it down it was bought for me by my daughter
I can't wait to buy another James Twining title.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars THE GENEVA DECEPTION
Not a bad read - did not know the author beforehand. Having said that had to check the book to remind myself of the plot
Published 18 months ago by pbirdpatbird
5.0 out of 5 stars The Geneva Deception - James Twining
Brilliant book, delivered very promptly. I will happily buy more when they are available. So far I have read all the books James Twining has written.
Published 18 months ago by Mr K M Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading
Half way through this book and I cant leave it down. Same thrilling storyline as his other books.
Good Reading.
Published 18 months ago by KIM AXON
5.0 out of 5 stars james twining
Purchased this book for my husband as he has just finished the first book.
I have also read the book and is a good fast clever book, kept me interested.
Published 20 months ago by AMANDA J MCCLURG
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Another great book from a brilliant writer. Excellent plot, plenty of twists and turns and keeps you interested and intrigued from start to finish.
Published on 26 Jun 2012 by Jane Mann
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction
I had never read any of James Twining's books before. This one came up on my recommendations and I'm glad I didn't ignore it. Read more
Published on 7 Feb 2010 by Mr. P. T. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Excitement from beginning to end
Tom Kirk. He's like Thomas Crown meets James Bond meets Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible. You can't get more action packed than that! Read more
Published on 13 Nov 2009 by Thomas Tatchell
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