The Collection

Approved cover for The Collection

Cover art by Damonza

Four years ago, what Matt Friedrich learned at work put him in prison. Yesterday, it earned him a job. Tomorrow, it may kill him.

Matt learned all the angles at his old Los Angeles gallery: how to sell stolen art, how to “enhance” a painting’s history, how to help buyers hide their purchases from their spouses or the IRS. He made a load of money doing it – money he poured into the lawyer who worked a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney. Matt’s out on parole, broke and hopelessly in debt with no way out…until a shadowy woman from his past recruits him to find a collection of stolen art that could be worth millions.

Now Matt’s in Milan, impersonating a rich collector looking for deals. He has twenty days to track down something that may not exist for a boss who knows a lot more than she’s telling. He’s saddled with a tough-talking partner who may be out to screw him and up against a shady gallerist whom Matt tried to send to prison. His parole officer doesn’t know he’s left the U.S. Worse yet, what Matt’s looking for may belong to the local branch of the Calabrian mafia.

Matt’s always been good at being bad. If he’s good enough now, he gets a big payday with the promise of more to come. But one slip in his cover, one wrong word from any of the sketchy characters surrounding him, could hand Matt a return trip to jail…or a long sleep in a shallow grave.

What the Reviewers Say

The Collection is a breezy read in the way the very early Leslie Charteris’ Saint novels were breezy: entertaining with an underlining of grit below the surface…” — Criminal Element

“The mystery has enough twists and turns — with the characters keeping plenty of secrets — tokeep the reader guessing until the very end… A charming start towhat promises to be an intriguing series.” — The BookLife Prize

“Author Charnes has developed a meticulously complex, rapid-paced plot, and some of the ways the scam works are briefly difficult to follow, but you never believe for a moment that he hasn’t thought the whole thing through… More excitement to come!” — Crime Fiction Lovers

Download the first four chapters of The Collection -or- preview it in the Kindle reader.

Bonus material: extra chapters and a conversation with the author.

The Collection is available in various formats at the following locations:

ePub Kobobooks | Nook | iTunesHudson Booksellers | Mysterious GalaxyScribdVroman’s Angus & Robertson (AU) | Chapters (CA) | (DE)fnac (FR) | Librerias Gandhi (MX)Livaria Cultura (BR) | Mondadori (IT) | Thalia (DE) 
Trade Paperback (English only) Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Indiebound | Vroman’s | Adlibris (NO/SE) | Angus & Robertson (AU) | Fishpond (UK) | Suomalainen (FI) | Waterstones (UK) | More coming soon!

The new face of The Collection

This is the final cover for The Collection. It’s surprising how consistently this version was the first pick for the people I asked, including my favorite indie bookstore owner. It reminds me of 1960s Saul Bass movie posters — appropriate, since … Continue reading

The Collection is Coming out of Storage

Remember The Collection? The first installment in my new DeWitt Agency art-crime series? Yeah, maybe not so much. What happened to that, anyway? What happened is that I started querying agents, a process that hasn’t improved since the last time … Continue reading