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A Twist Of Hate Hardcover – June 17, 2015
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"Beyond those virtues, A TWIST OF HATE is also a darn good page-turner." -- New York Journal of Books
"A TWIST OF HATE weaves tangled history with a picture perfect ending." -- Chico Enterprise Record
"Barkowski's debut offers a novel take on friendship and family over time." -- Kirkus
"Barkowski takes us through a dark tale of child abuse, long-nursed hatred, and revenge that stretches from Nazi-occupied France to present-day San Francisco and hints at unfollowed threads that add both intrigue and character depth." -- ReviewingTheEvidence.com
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Former homicide inspector turned security consultant Del Miller is surprised that his parents loaned the local museum their painting of the Cézanne. When it turns up missing his mother, who works at the museum, asks for his help in finding the painting. Del refuses insisting the FBI be called in as the painting, smuggled out of Nazi occupied France with Del’s then-infant father, holds great sentimental value, but is also priceless.
Before the investigation into the missing painting begins, the museum director is found dead under unusual circumstances. While the director confesses to the theft in a note, the painting remains missing and Del’s father becomes a suspect in the suspicious death.
Things continue to get complicated when an allegation is made that Del’s grandfather stole the painting from a Paris gallery during the war. The tension builds when the grandson of the long-deceased gallery owner comes forward to claim the missing painting and is later found dead.
Faced with a missing family heirloom, a father suspected of murder and new revelations about his family, Del is determined to find the painting and set things right. Meanwhile, Del is also dealing with personal issues as he tries to take his relationship with his best friend’s ex-wife to the next level.
The author blends the past with the present fluently giving readers glimpses of what the people in France endured during the war. Her eye for detail and rich descriptions places the reader alongside those fleeing for their lives during the war, as well as those living in present day San Francisco.
The story is gripping and moves at a steady pace. The suspense holds you spellbound as the events and secrets unfold. The emotions of hardship, betrayal, love and friendship come through in waves.
The secondary story of Del, his best friend and his best friend’s ex-wife ties in nicely. Though bits of a tragedy involving the three is a tad vague, it doesn’t take away from the story. In fact, the trio’s bond adds depth to the story.
A TWIST OF HATE will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. The author grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. The story doesn’t leave you when you close the book the final time as the characters become ones you want to know more about.
FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the author in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
From its clever title to the ambitious tale rooted in the horrors and heroics of Nazi-occupied France, and blossoming in modern-day America, the author does a beautiful job demonstrating how the events of history can continue to create ripples in today's world. At the core of the story is a priceless Cezanne painting: when Samuel was an infant, his father, a member of the French Resistance, smuggled him... and that painting... to the safety of America. All these years later, the painting is a poignant connection to the loving father who sacrificed everything to save his son and other Jewish children, and is a treasured family legacy worth far more than the multi-million dollar price tag the art world would place on it.
And now the painting is gone. It's been replaced by a copy while on loan to the art museum, and FBI investigators think Samuel and his wife are somehow involved. With the help of some friends, their son, a former police inspector, does some investigating of his own, and uncovers some painful truths.
This is a fast-moving story of accusations, betrayal, forgiveness, and murder. It also explores the bonds of family and friendship, and even has a modicum of romance. But at its heart, it is the story of two very different legacies: one poignant and priceless, and the other, a tainted distortion, fueled by the lingering ripples of bitterness and hatred dating all the way back to the days of Nazi occupation.
Bottom line? This is a terrific book. Try it. You'll like it.