A Long Time Coming
Thomas & Mercer, Aug 2018
263 pages, Kindle ARC
Also in paperback, audiobook, and MP3 CD
Provided by NetGalley
I liked the cover since I really like maps and old gold frames as they use in museums. It gave me the feeling that the story would take me on another one of Elkins crazy labyrinthian chases around the world and time for some clues and a treasure. Great job!
The story was interesting and has some twists in it. Nowhere near the usual number of twists an Elkins story normally has though.
The pace isn’t as fast as the typical Elkins story either. Typically I’m racing to keep up with the Skeleton Detective. This time the story opens with the curator at the Met not getting the promotion he’d been promised because of funding changes, getting his final divorce papers, and turning 40 all on one day. So it’s a bit of a downer and the tone seems to hang over everything throughout. Val Caruso goes off on his trip to Italy to arrange for the art collection being sent to the US museums. He has a secondary mission his friend Esther has asked him to take on. A mission of mercy more or less. To try to get the recently rediscovered Renoir back in the hands of the original owner, at least for the rest of his lifetime. Since the man is 89 and in poor health, that shouldn’t really be too long.
It’s all very touching, the whole story behind the theft of the Renoirs (there are two of them). The efforts Val goes to and the whole telling of the story is done well, but still, the tension and the tone seem depressed. It never seems to quite escape the doldrums that Val feels at the beginning with his trifecta of letdowns. And it seems to be contagious among the other characters as well. I actually read this book almost immediately after I received the ARC in April 2018, and set it aside. I couldn’t write a review of it because I was so disappointed. Here was a book by a favorite author and it had let me down so badly. And who was I to give such a big author such a low rating? So, this book has sat here not getting a review for months. But now I have read it again and I am doing this review. I feel a bit better about the book, but still not thrilled. I highly recommend Aaron Elkins as an author. This story is good, but this is not his best book.