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4.5 out of 5 stars23
4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 9 November 2009
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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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.

It is also, as I said at the beginning, a rather complicated tale, with multiple protagonists, all with their own agendas that often as not conflict with one another. The Geneva Deception is a book you have to pay attention to in order to keep up with who's who, who's doing what to whom and why. There are multiple plot strands running in parallel which only intersect right at the end. It rewards the reader's attention however, by providing a very satisfying denoument and a nice and only slightly predictable final twist.

If the book has any flaws its that it lacks a certain lightness of tone. The death of a character early on is useful in setting the stakes high, but it casts a dark shadow over what follows. As a result the book lacks the sort of effervescence that a tale of stolen art requires.

That one complaint and the awful title aside however, this is another great thriller and one I can highly recommend (although its best to read Tom Kirk's other adventures first).
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on 12 November 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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on 14 February 2015
I had a sinking feeling when this book referred to <<Odysseus>> solving the riddle of the Sphinx. If you're going to allude to classical mythology, it's not much effort to get it right. After all, thesedays one only has to Google it.

The Geneva Deception (could have been a Ludlum title) reminded me strongly of a James Bond story. Same implausible plot, same 2-d characters. I could easily have forgiven that on the grounds that it's only a bit of fun and not half as serious as it takes itself, were it not for the fact that the writing so frequently staggers under the weight of its own prolixity.

There are times when “He crashed through the door, gun in hand.” works better than “He crashed peremptorily through the well-made, oak-panelled door, the cold steel of his gun gleaming maliciously in his bronzed, muscular yet strangely graceful hand.”

Just saying...
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on 13 January 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Tremendous pace - it skips along in short chapters between different locations and scenes of action. Often this style of writing ends up being confusing, but not here. Contains huge amounts of information about ancient art, stolen art, and the machinations of some of the world's most prominent collections and museums in acquiring pieces. Very good thriller which also manages to be informative. Will certainly buy more from this author.
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on 12 October 2009
The fourth book from the excellent James Twining was one I had eagerly anticipated as his previous book was about 2 years ago. It was well worth the wait.

It's a pacey action thriller that jumps from one location to another and always keeps you on your toes. There's quite a shock at the start of the book as a certain somebody is shot. I didn't see this coming and I think it was a very clever choice to add to the character development of the main man Tom Kirk.
The baddies are nasty, the plot an interesting one involving ancient societies and lost secrets. There's also lots of information about artists and their paintings which James Twining clearly has a passion for.

If you enjoy James Rollins, Andy Mcdermott, Scott Mariani or Matthew Reilly then give James Twining a go. I just hope we don't have to wait as long for the next one!
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on 28 December 2013
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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on 23 December 2015
The best of all the books; still, not as satisfying from a plot/character standpoint. Compared to earlier works a much better
read. Would make a fairly good action movie.
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on 9 June 2013
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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on 8 March 2014
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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