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Pictures Hardcover – November 13, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 17th novel from former NYPD deputy commissioner Daley falls short of his previous work (Year of the Dragon and the excellent nonfiction account Prince of the City). His new hero, Vince Conte, is marking time as a PI for a security firm after he ruined a promising career with the NYPD by assaulting the deputy police commissioner for carrying on with Conte's gorgeous anchorwoman wife. Conte is doing unglamorous inquiries into employee theft when his company is retained to identify the plotters behind an extortion plot in a small European duchy. The unknown parties have already succeeded in breaking up the marriage of the duke's daughter by publishing compromising photos of her husband's poolside tryst. The clichéd European characters coupled with the absence of suspense and plot twists add up to an outing that lacks Daley's customary grit. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Tony Murano is a lower-echelon tennis pro married to the princess of one of Europe's "little" monarchies who is pregnant with the heir to the throne. Unfortunately, the king doesn't like Tony and constantly reminds him of his commoner status. With his wife in the final stages of the pregnancy, Tony is caught on film in a compromising position with another woman. The photos quickly appear in every scandal rag in Europe, Tony is excised from the family, and his wife is heartbroken. To mitigate her daughter's despair, the queen hires New York's premier detective agency to determine who set the trap for Tony. The firm assigns former NYPD cop Vince Conte to the case. Conte finds the woman in the photos, convinces her to cooperate with his investigation, and then, shockingly, finds himself falling in love with her. Daley, author of Prince of the City (1978) and, more recently, the outstanding Enemy of God (2005), weaves a compelling love story within a conventional thriller, which is marred by an improbable conclusion. This isn't Daley's best book, but it's still well worth reading. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; 1 edition (November 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151012296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151012299
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,902,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

From the introduction to Robert Daley's memoir Writing On The Edge - The Ups and Downs of a Freelance Career

"I was a freelance writer. So were Hemingway, Shakespeare and many others. I lived wholly from my writing. I wrote magazine articles and stories. I wrote 28 books. Always I demanded the highest fees I could get, becoming in the end what counts as a rich writer, and further on in this memoir I talk a good deal about contracts, advances, money. Most writers spend most of their lives locked in small rooms typing, and they don't get paid very much. I refused to live like that. Throughout I have tried to manage my career in a different way, call it my way, if you like. I know no other professional writer who can say this. Year after year I chose to plunge down every road that opened before me, often heedlessly. I started my adult life as the Football Giants' press agent, the first they had ever had and the first job I had ever had, six seasons--at the same time writing many stories and two novels no one would publish. Later, after I at last broke through, I wrote a novel based on the Giants and on players I had known, which, in 2002, Sports Illustrated called "one of the top sports books of all time." I was six years a New York Times foreign correspondent in Europe, and later wrote a novel about that. Much later I served as an NYPD Deputy Commissioner, ducking under the yellow tape to get as close to the crime scenes as possible, and on that experience I based a number of the novels that were to come. I wrote also about bullfighting, opera, grand prix racing, France, wine, treasure diving, for I plunged into all those worlds as well, plunged all the way to the end if possible, where I stood around gawking for a time, then wrote as accurately as I could, whether in fiction or non-fiction about what I had found. There is a price exacted of those who ignore traffic signs. I paid it in fear, defeat, humiliation, even in lawsuits. But other times I reaped an incredible profusion of excitement and delight--and also made a good living. To keep my enthusiasm high, I had to keep discovering new worlds, new people, for otherwise writing is hard, hard, hard, sometimes impossible. There were so many strange doors out there, all of them strangely ajar, at least to a writer. One had only to lean a little and they would open and whatever was behind them would be revealed. It's all in this book. This is my story."

Visit the author's Website: Or contact him on Facebook.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael L. Slavin on May 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read and enjoyed most if not all of the authors novels. Typically he writes very realistically. This book was ,too over the top. The hero, former NYPD Captain Vincent Conte, had been on a fast track to move up in the department. Unfortunately, on the way, he discovered his wife was having an affair with a Deputy Chief. He confronted the Chief with his fists and was forced to resign. He then began working for a private investigation company. An assignment came up from a small duchy in the Alps near France, Monaco and Italy. Scandal and murders ensued involving The Duke,His Daughter,His son-law, a photographer, a model and a corrupt Italian detective. Conte ends up falling in love with the model. He goes past his assignment as he tries to come to the bottom of things. All in all, the plot is interesting and fast moving. My problems with this read are that I never particularly liked the character of the hero cop Conte. The plot lost reality as he operated in the tiny duchy as though he was back in NYC. Imagine this. He was trying to escape at the top of a mountain peak with snow, cold and wind. He was just wearing a business suit. He got caught in an avalanche. Naturally in this book he survived. I think the author is better at straight forward crime novels with a bit less romance.
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By Victoria Davis on August 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
After spending 30 minutes erasing all the penciled corrections and question marks from my copy of Pictures, I decided that anyone who's considering buying this book deserves at least one warning.

Inane remarks, boring repetitions, unappealing characters, poor scenic descriptions, and annoying errors abound. (When I drove from Monte Carlo to the Italian border, I went east; my atlas agrees. In Pictures, the Riviera road from Monaco to Italy goes west. And that's only one example.) The "romance" is appalling. The dialog would be laughable if it weren't so irritating.

I got the impression that Daley himself was bored to tears with this story and only wanted to get it over with. His previous books must be much better, but Pictures doesn't inspire me to try them.
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By Tghu Verd on November 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I can't recall what prompted me to buy Daley's "Pictures", but as a crime thriller it was strangely listless and I think the underlying reason was Daley's need to invent a European country and continually glance at it sideways as if to check it was still there.

It seemed that creative geographic energy stole from plotting and character development, because nothing quite rang true - most of the motivations were cartoonist at best, and not even stereotypical bad at worst.

In particular, Augustin II, a heavy weight protagonist and hereditary ruler of the invented Grand Duchy, seems contradictorily too simplistic and yet way smart to dominate events in the way that Daley manoeuvres.

But it is the world weary somewhat hero, Vince Conte who I found particularly annoying. Having side swiped his police career he's lost in the world until he spies the pretty damsel in distress. Not even the large dose of introspection and suspicion of his own behaviour - which I usually like in novels - covers up the cracks in Conte's overly cynical viewpoint.

So, not even a "by the numbers" book. Daley has written over two dozen novels, mostly fiction (and a handful with co-authors) so I'm thinking this dud is a one off. I'll probably read another of his books just to check, but that's only if it comes to me, after "Pictures" I am not going to actively search for it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As Antonio Murano's wife, European Duchess Maria Cristina, goes into labor, paparazzi Georges Grizzard takes pictures of the former tennis coach in close passionate proximity with beautiful bimbo, Gigi Meyer. Georges offers first dibs to the cheating spouse for $100,000, but Tony fails to come up with the money so Grizzard sells the photos to a tabloid.

Outraged Duke Augustin II, who already detests Tony for a lot of valid reasons, kicks this common trash out of the family home. However, his wife, Lady Charlotte cannot believe Tony could be this stupid so wonders if her son-in-law is being framed. She hires American security firm Probe, Inc. who have an earned reputation for discrete investigations, to uncover the truth. Probe, Inc. sends Vincent Conte to Europe to handle the case because he speaks Italian. No one offers him any information including Grizzard and Gigi until the peripheral players start dying, making the former NYPD cop wonder if there is something even more sinister than destroying a marriage.

Though lacking the stark suspense of Robert Daley's previous urban mysteries and nonfiction, PICTURES is a solid investigative tale starring a defrocked former cop struggling with a horde of Europeans, who refuse to cooperate even in some cases when death seems imminent. Vincent follows the money and corpses all over Western Europe as he tries to determine whether Tony was set up as Charlotte believes or just being Tony as the Duke accepts. Though somewhat more straightforward in plotting than usual, fans of Robert Daley will enjoy this European holiday thriller.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ira Stone on March 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
With the breathtaking Bond-like backgrounds of Monte Carlo and Milan, Daley entraps you in intrigue that just doesn't let go. His characters are so-human-that you really care about their fate. As usual, Daley does women as well as any contemporary author, and Gigi's plight is fleshed out convincingly and movingly. But it is the hero, Conte, flawed and sometimes self righteous, who engages us in his quest to find something to believe in...and love.

Well done, Mr. Daley!
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