A July 2023 Read This Next! Book
I’ll admit I have a bit of a guilty pleasure approach when it comes to thieves and heists. I’m amazed at the planning, the execution, and most of all, the why. When I saw this book about master art thief Breitweiser and his girlfriend, Anna-Christine, I knew I had to read it. I’m not sure what I was expecting it to be. An over-romanticized account about the wild and daring adventures of this couple that managed to steal billions of dollars right under the noses of the art world and art police alike? Whatever the case, that’s not what I got and I think the novel is all the better for it. It doesn’t read like fiction because it isn’t- everything actually happened! And none of this is to say it was boring or uninteresting. Quite the opposite! I was heavily invested. Rather, the matter-of-fact, understated reporting of the thefts as well as the behind the scenes drama are as true to Breitweiser’s manner of stealing as can be. This was not a man who needed to don all black and plan elaborate, barely made it heists. No, all Brietweiser needed was his pocketknife and girlfriend (with the occasional nail clipper). The detailed retelling of many of the thefts is not only paired with insight into the lives of two of the most successful thieves, but also a thorough psychoanalysis from many a psychiatrist interested in the mind behind the man. Well reported and I’d say authentic, The Art Thief is a must read.
The Art Thief by Michael Finkel, (List Price: $28, Knopf, 9780525657323, July 2023)
Reviewed by Laney Sheehan, Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, North Carolina