#NetGalley #ARCReview #TheSteal by #CWGortner and #MJRose

This past year I read two books by C.W. Gortner (The Romanov Empress review here) and M.J. Rose (The Last Tiara review here) and enjoyed both of them, so when NetGalley and Blue Box Press offered me The Steal (Amazon), a collaboration between the authors, I was all in. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The book will be released August 10.

“They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend—until they’re stolen.

Ania Throne is devoted to her jewelry company. The daughter of one of the world’s most famous jewelers, she arrives in Cannes with a stunning new collection. But a shocking theft by the notorious thief known as the Leopard throws her into upheaval—and plunges her on an unexpected hunt that challenges everything she believes.

Jerome Curtis thinks he’s seen it all, especially when it comes to crime. Until he’s hired to investigate the loss of Ania Thorne’s collection, his every skill put to the test as he chases after a mysterious master-mind responsible for some of the costliest heists in history—and finds himself in a tangled web with a woman he really shouldn’t fall in love with.

From the fabled Carlton Hotel to the elegant boulevards of Paris, Ania and Jerome must race against time to catch a thief before the thief catches them. With everything on the line, can they solve the steal or will the steal take more than diamonds from them?”

The Steal is a quick read, more like a novella than a full-length novel. Things move fast with the plot, too. The setting is practically Cannes one day, Paris the next, and New York the third. The plot keeps moving along with both Ania, the jeweler, and Jerome, the insurance investigator’s points of view.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and the pacing, and while I have no need for them personally, imagining hundreds of thousands of dollars of jewels in intricate designs was fun. Jerome is sort of a stereotypical detective, of scruffy face and schlumpy dress, ala Columbo, but he’s a lot younger and handsome in his scruffiness. He eludes to a dark past, which is revealed in time.

I was a little disappointed in the depiction of Ania as an icy woman who’d never had a proper man show her a good time. Sparks fly between her and Jerome, and you know it’s just a matter of time before they get together. What surprised me was how quickly they got together. Like I said, things move FAST in The Steal. And things get a bit graphic, for those that don’t like that in their romantic mysteries.

As Jerome and Ania try to avoid the Leopard, the famous jewel thief who’s never been caught but seems to have a vendetta against Ania’s company in particular. Jerome figures it has something to do with his shady past post-WWII as someone in covert ops hunting down Nazis because the guard Ania employs happens to be one of his old army buddies. The Leopard knows who they are and what they’ve done.

Jerome and Ania close in on the elusive thief, and just when you think the story is about to wrap up, it just ENDS! Looking into it, it appears this is the first in a series of caper books about The Leopard. Apparently Gortner and Rose enjoyed Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief (Prime)(DVD) as much as me because this book reminds me of it. Even the cover features a woman who looks suspiciously like Grace Kelly. That being said, I will continue with the series to get to know Ania and Jerome a little better.

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