Reluctant Burglar

Reluctant Burglar

4.5 24
by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

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The Art of Art Thievery

When Hiram Jacobs is murdered, the responsibility for his internationally renowned security company falls upon his daughter, Desiree. But a container full of stolen paintings screams the ugly truth—that her father was a thief. Option A: Turn the goods over to the law, disgrace her father’s name, destroy their…  See more details below


The Art of Art Thievery

When Hiram Jacobs is murdered, the responsibility for his internationally renowned security company falls upon his daughter, Desiree. But a container full of stolen paintings screams the ugly truth—that her father was a thief. Option A: Turn the goods over to the law, disgrace her father’s name, destroy their business, put people out of jobs, and embarrass international museums with the fact that they have been displaying clever forgeries. Option B: Surrender the art to the bad guys. But then she becomes an unwilling accomplice to the thieves, and her father’s murderer would walk free. Worse, a death threat warns her not to cooperate with federal agents. Can she trust God to guide her down the right path when no option seems right…let alone safe?

Art stole her heart…

Now can she return the favor?

If Desiree Jacobs knows anything, it’s art. Her father, whose security company is internationally renowned, taught her everything he knew. Most of all, he taught her about honor. Integrity. Faith. So surely God will forgive her for despising the one man determined to destroy her father’s good name?

Special Agent Tony Lucano knows Hiram Jacobs is an art thief. But what he can’t figure out is Desiree. Is she the innocent victim…or a clever accomplice?

Then Hiram is murdered. And along with his company, he leaves Desiree a hidden container full of stolen paintings. But she can’t admit her father was a thief! That would destroy their business, put people out of jobs, and embarrass international museums that have been displaying clever forgeries. No, she must find out why her honest father would turn criminal. And she must return the priceless art to the rightful owners without their knowledge. Even if it means facing down a ring of cutthroat art thieves…or accepting help from the man she most distrusts.

“Buckle your seat belt for a wild, heart-pulsating read. Jill Elizabeth Nelson’s debut novel will leave you breathless!”

Linda Wichman, award-winning author of Legend of the Emerald Rose

Reluctant Burglar offers a unique blend of who-dunit mystery and high-stakes thriller, with a touch of humor and romance.”

Sharon Dunn, award-winning author of the Ruby Taylor mysteries


Story Behind the Book

“One night I woke up, my whole body tense, after dreaming that a woman had snuck into a home in the middle of the night to return a genuine painting that had been stolen and replaced by a clever forgery. I knew little about her except that she was an expert at what she did, and if she was caught, disaster would follow. My imagination began to play with that nugget. I love stories where people risk much to do the right thing, and I feel sick whenever I hear of art or antiquities desecrated or stolen. Putting these elements together into a tale of intrigue—with a sassy heroine and an intense hero—came easily. I believe that capturing the imagination with a gripping story makes a most effective vehicle to convey thought-provoking realities.”

— Jill Elizabeth Nelson

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
To Catch a Thief
Sold by:
Random House
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File size:
3 MB

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Reluctant Burglar 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
-Melanie- More than 1 year ago
I had been wanting to read 'Reluctant Burglar' for awhile, but never got around to reading it until just recently because I finally had the time. I found the plot very interesting - Desi's father is accused of stealing expensive art, but Desi didn't believe it until her father is murdered and she finds the stolen art. She then decides to return the stolen art to the rightful owners - by secretly swapping it with the frauds that had gone unnoticed. Combine that with a handsome FBI agent and a hint of romance between Desi and him, and 'Reluctant Burglar' looked to be a promising read. I enjoyed the book, but I think it started out a bit slow and took awhile to get to the main plot. When I was midway through, 'Reluctant Burglar' became very good. I loved the characters and I kept trying to guess who 'The Chief' was, but I ended up being wrong. :( There were many twists, a lot of drama, little hints of romance, and suspense which kept me intrigued. Jill Elizabeth Nelson wrote a great novel that I think would keep most mystery lovers happy! I thought I had the culprits figured out; but by the final revelation, I realized I only had one culprit slightly right. Overall, I recommend 'Reluctant Burglar' if you enjoy mysteries.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Novel_Teen_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Review by Gigi Hoffman

Desiree Jacobs is an art buff. She works for her father at his internationally renowned security company that specializes in museum management. Yet while her father is overseas, he¿s murdered. As Desiree tries to pick up the pieces and learn what happened, she discovers what Special Agent Tony Lucano has known for a long time¿her father was an art thief. Then Desiree is left with a container of priceless stolen paintings, paintings that museums don¿t even know are missing. Desiree is suddenly launched into a cat and mouse game with unknown art thieves, hidden codes, kidnapping, and more. She must discover why her honest father would turn to thievery and whether Tony, the same man who believed her father a felon and Desiree a possible accomplice, can be trusted. She must depend on her faith, integrity, and true friends to get her through.

To think this is Nelson¿s first book! The characters are great, jump-off-the-page realistic. It¿s gripping novel, with just the right dash of romance and humor. The writing is superb; Ms. Nelson¿s words flow, grab you, and pull you in. I can¿t wait for the next book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Desiree Jacobs' father is killed while overseas. She is left to run their security company and dodge Special Agent Tony Lucano who is intent in proving her father was an art thief. Both she and her father know art. They are often providing security for works of art and museums. She knows her father was a man of faith. She shares his faith. So she sets out to prove his innocence. Unfortunately she soon discovers he left her a hidden container full of stolen paintings. She refuses to admit he was a thief and sets out to return the paintings. When a ring of cutthroat art thieves begins to come after the paintings, she has to decide whether to trust Tony. She finds herself in danger and uncertain of whom she can trust. Can she uncover the ring of thieves and find out who killed her father without having to give the thieves what they seek? This is the first book I've read in this series. It won't be the last. I loved this book. Desiree is such a wonderful character. I loved reading a book where the protagonist had morals and yet had spunk. The tension between Tony and Desiree really adds to the story. I am not an art lover, but I really enjoyed this story. The author did a fantastic job of getting the information to the readers about the various art, but without overwhelming them. I can't wait to read more! I highly recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Desiree Jacobs schooled her breathing as she handed her ID to the museum guard. Relax. . .just relax. This guy has no idea what you are up to. And so begins line one, chapter one, in book one of the To Catch a Thief Series. Reluctant Burglar, the spin-tingling, nail-chewing debut novel by Jill Elizabeth Nelson throws us into the world of Desiree Jacobs. A world that suddenly spins out of control when she learns of her father¿s murder. Add to the whirlwind Tony Lucano, a Special Agent with the FBI who¿s hot on the trail of an art thief who he suspects is Desiree¿s father. Toss in hidden codes, kidnaping, a hard case of trust, and international art thieves. The events that follow throw Desiree into a cat and mouse game that will have readers on the edge of their seats. But inside this tornado of events, both Desiree and Tony learn that only God can calm their hearts and give them direction in a fast-paced world. Jill Nelson does an excellent job of making real-to-life characters while giving us an exciting read and eager anticipation for Book #2 and #3 in the To Catch A Thief series.
Deborah_K More than 1 year ago
I think that Desiree had an awesome job. I really liked Desiree's ability to disguise herself enough to fool people for her job. I enjoyed the scene where she almost got caught even though the room she was in was almost impossible to get out of. I know that the guy on the cover is supposed to be Tony but for some reason I kept picturing Tony Almeida from 24. He just suited better to me what Tony would look like. Desiree's and Tony's relationship starts off annoying at first because no matter what she does he doesn't trust her. Eventually he realizes her true character, it was just frustrating that he had already prejudged her. I kept thinking about the Da Vinci Code while reading the book because of the talk about paintings and art museums. And I also recalled an episode of Magnum PI where there is a father/daughter art thief duo just like in this book. While I enjoyed the book, I felt that some parts dragged a little. To me the middle part of the story didn't grab my attention the way the first part or the end did. I still enjoyed reading this book though. There were twists that I didn't see coming and lots of suspense. I also have a new respect for art after learning so much about it in this book. I'll be looking forward to the next one in the series.
MichelleSutton More than 1 year ago
In several ways I'm thoroughly impressed with this novel. Though it's a debut, it started out so well-written that I couldn't tell. That's an accomplishment. The characters seemed real and likeable and the plot was complex. In fact, if I didn't know that the author was a woman, I'd assume a man had written this story at first because it was so graphic and had some very mafia-esque scenes that were not at all feminine. Like the portion that went into his former relationship and betrayal. That was great!!! I also especially liked the fact that the hero and heroine were both Christians because it made the story all the more interesting. :) There were some tense moments in this story and the romance was very well done. I held my breath more than once. I love it when you aren't sure who the double-crossing mole is and you start to suspect everyone. I also really enjoyed the times when Desi had to break in and swap paintings during her theft job. That was great stuff. The author also had some good one-liners. For example She ought to have her brain removed and forensically examined for discombobulated synapses. And one way she described Tony's extreme anger... If steam could escape out his pores, he'd be a toxic cloud. :) Is that great stuff, or what? On the other end, I found the terrorist's dialogue a bit cheesy-sounding. Maybe it was a disadvantage to this author that I'd read Hell in a Briefcase first because the terrorists in that story were so believable. Or maybe the fact that once Desi stopped thieving and the FBI took over and she became the victim, it didn't work as well for me. I thought the ending was almost too detailed. The humor also seemed misplaced and more feminine. So I went from fear and anxiety at the beginning of the story, to not feeling like I'm really there toward the end. Like I was in a sit-com show. Very strange. I think the dialogue is what killed it. Up until that point I was there. Overall, I'd say I really enjoyed the story and would probably enjoy the next one as well. There was just that weakness toward the end. I think the initial intrigue and the romance were the highlights of this story. I do enjoy a novel with at least one delectable kiss!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What to do when the father you idolized, loved, and trusted confesses in writing, he is a smuggler and art thief? And what to do after he¿s murdered and you¿re the only person able to clear his reputation and find his murderer? Fearing to lose her family business, Desiree Jacobs pokes about the cutthroat world of international art theft. The attempts on her life testify that someone¿s not happy about her nosing around. Desiree¿s scheme to vindicate her father is waylaid by handsome, bullheaded Special Agent Tony Lucano who¿s out to establish that her father, Hiram, was an international criminal and Desiree his accomplice. The sparks between Desiree and Tony are instantaneous but neither will admit anything but distrust and animosity simmer beneath their façades. Besides, why should Desiree care about the very man determined to ruin her life? First time author, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, has woven a romantic intrigue suspense that has upped the ante for all future romance-suspense novels. In the prestigious form of Victoria Holt and the rough and tumble, intelligent wit of Dashiell Hammet¿s The Maltese Falcon, Jill Elizabeth Nelson¿s unique voice and style will keep you reading to completion and then begging for her second book of, To Catch A Thief series, Reluctant Runaway.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reluctant Burglar is a wonderful mix of romance and suspense and kept me turning pages, rooting for both hero and heroine, right up until the end. The 'who-done-it' factor held plenty of twists and turns, and I was happily kept in suspense, not figuring out the mystery too soon. I've had a glimpse of Jill Nelson's work in the past and knew the book would be good, but this story went beyond my expectations - a compelling read! I look forward to reading the next in this series and will definitely keep an eye on this author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Desiree Jacobs has just stolen a painting and now she must take it back and confess her wrongdoing, without getting caught by FBI agent Anthony Lucano. He's trying to catch theives involved in a stolen art ring and he has Desiree's father at the top of his list. Desiree knows her widower father would never do anything illegal and harbors a lot of resentment toward the two agents. But then her father is murdered overseas and Desiree's life begins to unravel and she finds even those closest to her can't be trusted. A quick and easy read, Reluctant Burgler is a good book to curl up with on a bad weather day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reluctant Burglar is a delightful read for anyone who likes romantic suspense. Lots of adventure and thrills. Not so much romance, but keep in mind that there are more books in the series where the romance between Desi and Tony will develop. Jill Nelson's attention to detail of the art world and the mechanics of the FBI lent the story an authenticity that almost made me feel I'd entered the world of the characters myself. I can't wait for the next volume!
Guest More than 1 year ago
We may not all travel in Desiree Jacobs' circles--high-stakes security, international art theft, and cops, robbers, and terrorists--but we can all identify with that awful place of not knowing if those closest to us are trustworthy. Jill Nelson does a fine job of showing how tough Desiree has to be when she suddenly questions whether or not her father, her best friend, and her protector are who they always seemed to be. Half of the fun for the reader is trying to figure it all out before Desiree does. The other half is watching what happens once Desiree stops leaning on her own 'wisdom' and leaves it up to God. I'd recommend this fun suspense novel to teens and up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Danger, romance, humor, mystery, The Reluctant Burglar by Jill Elizabeth Nelson delivers all that and more. From the theft of a Renoir in chapter one, to a terrorist kidnapping at the end, main character Desiree Jacobs entangles herself in one adventure after another. Personally, I thought her grandest challenge came in the shape of a well-muscled FBI agent named Tony Lucano. Beyond the entertainment factor of an engaging plot, The Reluctant Burglar connects with readers via every day, real-life struggles¿betrayal by a friend, grief over losing a loved one, and loneliness. These issues are woven into the fabric of Nelson¿s characters. I especially liked the Reader¿s Guide questions at the back of the book to further a discussion of these topics from a Biblical perspective. The best news is that there¿s more to come. This is only book one of the To Catch A Thief series put out by Multnomah. Desi and Tony continue their lively relationship in the second book, The Reluctant Runaway, which comes out in March 2007.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Desiree Jacob¿s life as she knows it is about to unravel. After her father is murdered, secrets of his past life come to light. H.J. Securities founder had been a man known for his integrity and faith. Now, it seems that her father had once been involved with less than honest dealings. As a man of faith, he was no longer that person. Shouldn¿t she protect the image he had come to enjoy and save the company he¿d worked hard to establish? If she were to tell the truth, could she even trust FBI agent Tony Lucano, a man who not only suspects her of theft but believes she is in league with terrorists? Agent Tony Lucano is attracted to the unpredictable and indomitable Desi Jacobs. But is she guilty? He¿d been fooled by beauty once before, and it nearly cost him his life. And what of his partner? A hot-tempered women-hater determined to put Desi behind bars. If Dezi is innocent, then she is in serious trouble. Tony struggles with his attraction for her and the mounting evidence against her. Desi and Tony are Christians caught between duty and faith: Desi to her father¿s memory and Tony to his oath to uphold the law. What does God require of them? This fast-paced action story explores the issue of art smuggling as a terrorist funding source while weaving demonstrating God¿s ability to transcend a past of doubt and disappointment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jill Elizabeth Nelson's excellent writing and fresh style pulls you into Reluctant Burglar from page one, and her exciting plot keeps you reading until 'The End.' Buy and read this one and all her future novels. You will be glad you did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you read this novel, book a manicure. Nelson's writing is witty, her characters multi-dimensional, but above all, the suspense will have you biting your nails. Thus the manicure. Anyone who reads my blog knows I don't DO suspense. I've already admitted to being Queen of the Big Honkin' Chicken Club. Halfway through Reluctant Burglar the suspense was getting so intense, I thought about giving it to someone else to finish. But Jill dared me to finish it. Be sure to visit Jill's website to read that story! The story is wonderful¿full of twists and turns I never say coming. If you like suspense, you'll love Reluctant Burglar and count it as one of the best of 2006.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Desi Jacobs has never believed the accusations against her beloved father, but a tenacious FBI agent named Tony Lucano won¿t give up. How ironic that this man, who sets her teeth on edge, must be the one to deliver some horrifying news about her father. Here¿s a mystery that zooms along as any mystery should, careening through real-world grit and whipping around treacherous curves. Yet, even while the reader¿s heart thumps and the blood curdles, it¿s as safe inside the car as if it were a Disneyland ride. Because there¿s always the protective padding Christian fiction provides: wholesome language and sound values.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Reluctant Burglar by Jill Elizabeth Nelson is edge-of-the-seat reading from the first page to the last. Jill has set a high standard for herself in her debut novel. In addition to the fast-paced action, she crafted characters you love, hate and, at times, even want to knock some sense into! . . . Desiree Jacobs learned about the art security business from her father, Hiram Jacobs. He also taught her about faith and integrity. Their business is world renowned in art securites. But, Hiram Jacobs never taught her about lies, deceipt and betrayal. Agent Tony Lucano knows the other side of Hiram Jacobs, the art thief. Tony must bring Hiram down and determine if his beautiful daughter is involved. When Hiram Jacobs is murdered, the investigation turns in new directions that will challenge both Desiree's and Tony's faith. Will they learn to trust each other? Will they learn to trust the prompting of their God in time to bring the real criminals to justice? . . . Do not open this book planning to read only a chapter. The story, the characters and the desire to solve the mystery will keep you turning the pages. So, grab a blanket, get comfortable and enter the intriguing world of art museums, mystery and romance. You'll be glad you did. Jill Nelson will take you on a memorable journey. ~Chandra Lynn Smith~
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first novel of Jill Nelson's I've read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. What would you do if you found out your father had stolen millions of dollars worth of rare art and upon his death, it all falls into your lap? Desiree Jacobs wants to right the wrong her father had done, despite the interference of Old Hollywood style FBI agent, Tony Lucano. As Desiree struggles to right the wrong, save her father's business and clear his name, she finds herself on the hunted list. em The Reluctant Bur /em glar takes you along with Desiree through a ring of cutthroat art thieves and into a reluctant partnership with Agent Lucano. A totally engrossing read. Highly recommended. - author
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Reluctant Burglar' is full of mystery, suspense, romance, humor, and even some cool educational facts. AND Jill has allowed God's miraculous personality to shine through it all! Can't wait for 'Reluctant Runaway'!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'I wasn't sure what to expect from Jill's Christian suspense novel, but I couldn't put it down. The characters are intriuging and the plot twisted more than a bunch of disco dancers. There were a few red herrings that kept me guessing, and I really enjoyed the sweet romance which developed between Desi and Tony. The author also made the book seem very contemporary, by adding in bits of real current headlines. Highly recommended!'
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I read this book, I thought I'd enjoy it, but I really didn't expect to be unable to put it down. From the first chapter, Jill Nelson does a great job of sucking you into the world of art security, but more importantly of making you care about Desi Jacobs. Through all the twists and turns that make it a caper ala The Thomas Crown Affair, I hoped that somehow Desi would find a way out of what looked to be an impossible situation. She's surrounded by trouble on all sides, from FBI agent Tony Lucano, who has been bent on exposing Desi and her father for months, to a coworker who may not be what she seems. Who can Desi trust as she tries to make the right decision? The faith elements in this book flow very naturally from each of the twists. And the point of view shifts quickly so you know what each key character is thinking as the action picks up. That alone kept the pace of the book moving. Then you have more twists than a tornado slide in Kansas. If you buy this book, and you like a good mystery with lots of twists, I think you will enjoy it. I'm already looking forward to the next installment in the series!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book lives up to its intriguing title. Heroine Desiree Jacobs became a real person to me in the first pages of the book. I felt her angst and confusion over her father¿s betrayal to his lifelong profession and passion. I sympathized with her reluctance to admit her attraction to the handsome FBI agent who is investigating her father¿s death, even while I desperately wanted to see her find love in Tony¿s arms. Desi¿s job is fascinating ¿ a security expert staging thefts of priceless objects d¿art. My pulse raced as Desi and Tony tracked down the bad guys in a suspenseful and believable conclusion. A terrific debut for author Jill Elizabeth Nelson. I can¿t wait for the next one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Desiree Jacobs pulls off the ploy of masquerading as Olivia Layton of the National Antiquities Society so that she can walk out with a genuine Renoir from the Boston Public Museum of Arts& Antiquities. She returns a few minutes later to the museum whose chief Jacqueline Taylor hires Desi¿s firm, HJ Security to enhance the museum¿s security. --- Not long afterward, FBI Agent Tony Lucano, who works art thefts, informs Desi that her beloved father was professionally murdered in his Rome hotel room. Tony and his partner Steve Crane assume she was her dad¿s art thief cohort and knows where the loot is. Desi believes her father was innocent until an assault in her apartment by someone who believes, like the two feds, that she partnered with her dad. She begins to think about her father¿s love for acrostics and soon solves a puzzle he left for her, which leads her to stolen art and a note telling her that her father was a thief and to trust no one. Desi wants to depend on Tony, who she is attracted to, but does not believe he would care about her interests alone she risks getting killed by a vicious international art thief. --- The RELUCTANT BURGLAR is an entertaining police procedural with Christian and romantic subplots enhancing the story line. Desi is terrific as a beleaguered heroine not sure who to turn to except God while the devout Tony prays she is innocent though his ¿aside discussions¿ with the Lord disrupts the pacing. Still fans who appreciate a slightly different but well written inspirational romantic mystery will enjoy the escapades of Desi and Tony supported by a strong secondary cast. --- Harriet Klausner