Matt Friedrich figures there’s no way out. Half a million in debt after doing time for fraud, the former art dealer would do anything to ditch his post-prison barista job for something that pays actual money. So when a shady contact from his past offers him a trial gig at her semi-legal, highly profitable agency, he can’t say no… even if it risks his parole and his life.
Handcuffed to a brusque new partner who doesn’t appreciate his people skills, Matt finds himself in Milan on the trail of a man he tried to put away with his plea deal. But when the paintings they’re pursuing catch them in a crossfire with the Italian mafia, the experienced swindler may find his second chance comes at a fatal price.
Will the payoff for Matt’s long con be delivered in cash or corpses?
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
“Add a gritty blend of international atmosphere, street savvy, art world politics and processes, and criminal interests to the action-packed saga of a ticking time bomb and you have a multi-faceted, well-detailed story that’s hard to put down and highly recommended for detective story and intrigue readers looking for something refreshingly original…” — Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review Bookwatch
“The mystery has enough twists and turns — with the characters keeping plenty of secrets — to keep the reader guessing until the very end… A charming start to what 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
Bonus material: The Collection art gallery and a conversation with the author.
Published 2016. ISBN: 978-0-9886903-6-3 (paperback); 978-0-9886903-7-0 (ePub)