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False Impression Hardcover – March 7, 2006

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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (March 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312353723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312353728
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #863,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Even though Archer (Sons of Fortune) grounds his international art-thievery thriller in the events of 9/11, this leisurely paced, tepid effort has a musty feel. It's September 10, 2001, and Lady Victoria Wentworth is sitting in spacious Wentworth Hall considering the sad state of family fortunes when a female intruder slips in, slashes her throat and cuts off her ear. The next day in New York, art expert Anna Petrescu heads to her job as art wrangler for wealthy magnate Bryce Fenston of Fenston Finance. The pair's offices are in the Twin Towers, and when disaster strikes, each sees the tragedy as an opportunity to manipulate a transaction scheduled to transfer ownership of a legendary Van Gogh painting, Self-portrait with Bandaged Ear, from the Wentworth estate to the larcenous Fenston. The initially intriguing character, hit-woman and ex-gymnast Olga Krantz, turns out to be too lightweight, both physically and fictionally, to garner strong interest in anything other than her deadly skills with a kitchen knife. Lord Archer has been busy for the past five years or so serving half of a four-year prison sentence for perjury and writing a series of books about his prison experience; his first novel in seven years disappoints. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Archer's legion of fans have been waiting for seven years for his new thriller, and its success will probably depend on how well it sits with them. Some readers may sink right into the murderous plot involving--you guessed it--valuable works of art. Others may read several chapters, get the gist of the story and its characters (plucky heroine, on the run from homicidal financier, tries to keep Van Gogh's last painting out of his evil clutches), and think: for this, we waited? It's not a bad novel, if you don't mind a thriller that feels as though it was assembled from bits and pieces of other thrillers. Certainly Archer's writing skills have not deteriorated over the years, although they haven't improved, either. Some readers, too, may question the wisdom of using the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center as a plot point; this isn't a serious work about terrorism but, instead, simply uses the tragedy as a convenient narrative landmark. On the other hand, for those who found the appeal of The Da Vinci Code to be in its mix of art and conspiracy, this one certainly follows the formula. Expect some demand, but buy with care. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Jeffrey Archer has topped the bestseller lists around the world, with sales of over 270 million copies in 97 countries and more than 37 languages. He is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction (eighteen times), short stories (four times) and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries).

Jeffrey served five years as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons and twenty-two years as a Member of the House of Lords.

His latest novel Be Careful What You Wish For, published in March 2014, is the fourth volume in a seven book saga called The Clifton Chronicles, and spent twelve weeks in the top 10 - four of them at #1 - on the Sunday Times Best Seller list, and also went to the top of the bestseller lists in India, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa.

Jeffrey is also an art collector and amateur auctioneer, conducting around 30 charity auctions a year.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By David W. Nicholas on December 4, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jeffrey Archer does two types of books. On the one hand he does the epic family thing, typically following a group of two or more people through their lives, observing their families, friendships, business triumphs and defeats, and loves and losses. Typically his characters in something like this are either business tycoons or politicians. On the other hand, he also does suspense novels, a sort of poor man's Ken Follett, with a writing style more on par with someone like Jack Higgins, though Archer's books are longer. False Impression falls into the latter category.

The plot centers around a millionaire art collector and megalomaniac who contrives to have people killed and wind up with their property without having to pay for it. He specializes in loaning money to people who have expensive art, and who won't be able to pay off their loans, especially not with the terms he negotiates. The book starts the day before 9/11/01, with him finalizing a "deal" that will bring him one of Van Gogh's self-portraits, worth tens of millions, for next to nothing. He runs into a snag, though, in that his office is in the World Trade Center. Though he escapes unharmed, he finds former and current employees working to sabotage the deal and see that the Van Gogh winds up in proper hands.

This is a reasonably good book, but it definitely has its flaws. The protagonists all sound British, and there's one scene in particular where a pair of truckers attack a woman, intending to rape her, for no other reason than that the author needed the plot device, and of course most Europeans think that sort of thing happens in America all the time. A few days after 9/11, it seems doubtful, to say the least.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Warren Kelly on March 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
September 10, 2001. Victoria Wentworth, an heiress whose family fortune has declined tremendously due to financial mismanagement, is murdered in her home after deciding to sell a Van Gogh painting to pay off her debts. Dr. Anna Petrescu, an employee of her creditor, recommended this course of action in a report given to both Wentworth and Petrescu's employer, Bryce Fenston. But Fentson wanted the painting, not the money, and will stop at nothing to get it.

Fenston fires Petrescu, and as she is cleaning out her desk in the North Tower of the World Trade Center, disaster strikes. Assumed dead, Petrescu determines to prevent Fenston from getting the Van Gogh, if it's the last thing she does. And with an assasin on her tail, it just might be ...

Jeffrey Archer has written a suspensful masterpiece in False Impression. Even though you know almost from the beginning who killed Wentworth, and why, it doesn't matter - Archer creates plenty of edge-of-your-seat action. And this is a thriller that doesn't skimp on characterization, even though the "single, intelligent woman meets single, intelligent cop/FBI agent" theme has been done before.

Anna Petrescu is a very intelligent protagonist, who recognizes exactly what kind of danger she is in at every turn. You never know who is going to get to her first - the FBI agent who isn't quite sure if she's an innocent woman trying to do the right thing or an accessory to murder, or the hired assasin who has killed so many times already. Archer sends her running across the globe, but she always knows exactly where she's going, and why she's going there - and how to throw her pursuers off her trail.

I've never studied art history - I wouldn't know a Monet from a Manet.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Dan Cormier on July 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A favourite writer goes to prison, keeps a diary which proves to be an enjoyable read, then, upon his release, writes the worst book of his career. The concept of the book is good, as is the idea to blend the characters into the 9-11 tragedy. The first 20 pages flow with typical Archer style. Then the characters begin to make a series of continuously irrational decisions.

My personnal favourite is when 2 characters independantly consider driving either to Canada or Mexico in order to fly to Europe during the 9-11 grounding of air traffic. The idea that New Yorkers wouldn't know that Montreal is the nearest international airport seem laughable. While there is a direct highway to Montreal, Archer sends the main character to Toronto which reqires a least 6 different highway changes, is in the wrong direction and nearly twice the drive. Once at the border, the border patrol guard turns out to be a world class art historian who apparantly doesn't know that McGill University is in Montreal not Toronto as is claimed by our hero. The guard then remarks that he will "meet" a collegue of the hero when that peron travels up to the conference. The idea that only one border guard is working the dozens of eastern US/Canadian border crossings, with multi-lane checkpoints 24/7 is simply the work of a mind out of touch with reality.

Its fine to change details to enhance the plot and structure of a story, but there is simply no benefit to this sillyness.

Dan Cormier
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Romanian-born Anna Petrescu is the spunky, brainy, and beautiful heroine of "False Impression," a new thriller by Jeffrey Archer. Anna is not only a former track star, but she also has a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania. She started her career at Sotheby's and later took a job working for a banking concern, Fenston Finance, whose chairman, Bryce Fenston, is a major art collector. Bryce, on more than one occasion, has confiscated the paintings of clients who could not pay their outstanding loans to his bank. When an unknown assailant murders three of Bryce's clients, FBI agent Jack Delaney starts investigating the wealthy Fenston and his assistant, ex-con Karl Leapman. Meanwhile, Anna, who narrowly escapes from the North Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11, soon realizes that her own life is in danger. Fenston, she soon realizes, is an unscrupulous and dangerous monster who would kill anyone in order to get his hands on a valuable painting, "Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear," by Vincent Van Gogh.

Although she is book-smart, Anna must quickly hone her survival skills in order to elude the brutal Fenston and his hired assassin, Olga Krantz. Anna travels around the world, touching base in London, Bucharest, and Tokyo, and always managing to stay one step ahead of her pursuers. Can Anna outsmart Fenston and keep the Van Gogh safe for her client, Arabella Wentworth?

As the story wears on, the dialogue becomes increasingly stilted and the plot ever more implausible. Anna is clever and cool under pressure, but she is no superwoman. Therefore, her ability to stay alive when Fenston wants her dead is nothing short of amazing.
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