Gruber and reader Eric Conger do away with all certainty in this literary thriller, in which a brilliant but exceptionally troubled contemporary painter becomes embroiled in a scheme to forge a Velasquez painting, even as he is tormented with amnesic breaks and visions that seem to be from Velasquez's own life. There's a slight shift in pitch as Conger switches from the nameless narrator of the novel's framing sequence to the main story's protagonist, Chaz Wilmot, but other than that, he doesn't attempt to differentiate the other characters' voices from Chaz's. That's an entirely appropriate choice, as this is a frighteningly introspective narrative, recounted by a man who literally does not know who he is from one moment to the next. Is he going mad, being driven mad, actually shifting among realities or some combination of those options? For this audiobook to work, the reader and the author must make the narrator's hallucinatory perspective convincing, and both succeed wonderfully and chillingly at this task.
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“Tantalizing...exhilarating. Retains the power from the first chapter to keep readers desperate for the suspenseful, addictive fix of every succeeding one. FORGERY OF VENUS is a highly intelligent novel that entertains and educates.” (USA Today )
“Ingenious...The author owns his subject matter and packs it with well-researched details, making this...a successful, suspenseful examination of insanity, forgery and reality.” (Chicago Sun-Times )
“(An) imaginative novel of psychological suspense.” (Boston Globe )
“Michael Gruber’s new thriller, THE FORGERY OF VENUS, is as layered as a luminous portrait by an old master. A tour-de-force combination of suspense and characterization, as well as a primer on the world of art and art forgery.” (Seattle Times )
“Gruber writes passionately and knowledgeably about art and its history--and he writes brilliantly about the shadowy lines that blur reality and unreality. Fans of intelligent, literate thrillers will be well rewarded.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) )
“Irresistible. Fast, Frightening and, as usual, richly imagined.” (Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review) )
“Gruber writes thrillers for smart people. This novel is about art and creativity. That sounds lofty, but Gruber gives it humor and heart. The ensuing drama, involving a forgery believed to be the work of Diego Velazquez, keeps you on your toes.” (Arizona Republic )
“Gruber is on a roll…[a] terrific art-historical thriller…a perfect place to get lost for a few days. Once again, Gruber mines a popular vein and strikes gold.” (Booklist (starred review) )
“Smart and literate. Gruber approaches art with obvious appreciation, and has woven a clever story with plenty of detail.” (Wichita Eagle )
“A quick and sharp romp through the art world. Downright delicious.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer )
“Gruber writes with a deft hand, creating a fallen hero who is likeable despite his faults.” (Library Journal )
“This is an art lover’s dream. Mystery and obsession are textured with art history in a plot that explores not only the shifting nature of art, but also the complex nature of identity. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel )
“Michael Gruber’s large and growing number of fans won’t be disappointed with his sixth novel, a thriller in the art history vein. He’s woven a tale within a tale within a tale, all filled with marvelous twists and turns that build suspense and heighten the mystery until the satisfying conclusion.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram )
“This terrific art thriller has history, thieves, insider snippets and a convoluted plot to keep you guessing.” (Toronto Globe and Mail )
“THE FORGERY OF VENUS is the latest in Gruber’s series of amazing books. He has applied his deft touch to everything from Shakespeare to shamanism, yielding a finely drawn portrait of an engrossing world every time.“ (New Orleans Times-Picayune )
“Michael Gruber giv(es) us a finale in which the excitement level is high because we don’t know who, if anyone, to trust. It’s a satisfying conclusion, one that will leave readers debating the morality of Wilmot’s final decision.” (Tampa Tribune )
“Stunning...utterly unique, and breathtakingly original. It’s one of those novels you want to press upon your friends, fully confident that it will not disappoint. It’s a tour de force performance from Gruber, and a novel worthy of considerable attention.” (Edmonton Journal (Canada) )
“Michael Gruber has created a first-rate thriller that throws the reader into the art world, past and present.” (Chronicle Herald, Nova Scotia )