Cold Tuscan Stone: A Rick Montoya Italian Mysteryby David P Wagner
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Rick Montoya has just moved from New Mexico to Rome, embracing the life of a translator. He's beginning to settle in to la dolce vita when a school friend who is now senior in the Italian Art Squad recruits Rick for an unofficial undercover role. Armed with a list of galleries, suspects, and an expense account, Rick would arrive in Tuscany posing as a buyer for a Santa Fe gallery and flush out priceless burial urn traffickers.
But before sunset on Rick's first day, a gallery employee dies in a brutal fall from a high cliff. Has the trade in fraudulent artifacts upgraded to murder? Are the traffickers already on to Rick?
The local Commissario and his team consider Rick an amateur, and worse, a foreigner. Plus Rick is a suspect in the dead man's murder. While the Volterra squad pursues its leads, Rick continues to interview his list: a museum director, a top gallery owner, a low-profile import/export businessman and his enterprising color-coordinated assistant, and a sensuous heiress with a private art specialty and clientele. When Rick's girlfriend Erica arrives from Rome to visit him, she rekindles a friendship with an alluring, maybe dangerous, acquaintance. Has Rick's role made him the target of both cops and criminals?
VERDICT Wagner hits all the right notes in this debut. His likable protagonist engages, plus the Italian angle is always appealing. Perfect for readers who enjoy a complex puzzle, a bit of humor, and a fairly gentle procedural. Don't miss this one.
Meet the Author
David P. Wagner, a retired Foreign Service Officer, spent nine years in Milan and Rome during his career and now writes tourist materials about Italy. He earned his BA in English from Michigan State Univerisity, served in the Peace Corps in Chile, and taught high school English before entering the diplomatic service. He lives in New Mexico with his wife and their four cats. ww.davidpwagnerauthor.com
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Throughly enjoyable read. The writer has agreat way with words. He lets you visualize the locale and characters with his discriptions. No sexual narratives or bloody and gory addons, yet it was hard to put down as the flow of the story keeps your attention.
American Rick Montoya has moved to Italy, his mother's birthplace, to make his way as a translator. But what should be a cut and dried career move, takes on sinister overtones when he is recruited by the Italian Art Squad for an undercover assignment in Volterra to look for Etruscan forgeries and antiquities smugglers. Bodies pile up in the medieval town, and no one is to be trusted. This mystery is fast paced, filled with fascinating detail, and features a setting to send any reader in search of a good travel agent. A fine read and a great introduction to a new series.
Steady but not thrilling, this adventure into the criminal art world takes in Tuscany, one of my favourite places in Italy. Translator Rick Montoya works undercover to lure out the criminals stealing precious artefacts of Tuscan history. Working with the local police chief it starts to get nasty. Who is the mastermind behind the stealing and how will it end? Good questions and you are kept guessing until the end. Worth reading but not high priority.