Wednesday, March 30, 2022

A Perfect Book - The Fine Art of Deception - by Alyssa Richards


  Why did it feel as though I had no control, like someone else was pulling my strings? I could feel it in the bodyguard, Ellen’s resistance toward me. Hell, I could feel it in the walls. Something was off in this place. But I didn’t have another choice. If I wanted this career— if I wanted to work—I had to move ahead with my plan. Even if I had to force it.

I've said it before--I love books! And this one was perfect for me... Why? Well, indeed, it is a perfect book! I got it as an ebook, but that made no difference. The formatting was, yes, perfect--with no errors within the book!

But that's not all, there were extra small touches to the book that makes me know that the writer is concerned about the gift she is giving us...even if we buy it ourselves... Little hearts, chapter breaks with an extra page...with a artistic icon, just to allow the reader to stop and enjoy the book and its story! Way Cool in my opinion! I've become a fan and have already purchased the other two books in the trilogy...

Deception--it seems like it is everywhere these days. This time, the author takes readers into the Art world--a place where there are countless ways to deceive...but Richards has taken it a step beyond what might be considered norm. She has also taken us into the world of the supernatural, the paranormal, which always adds a touch of excitement beyond the usual criminal actions, don't you think?

Madonna and Child by Bellini
Addie Montgomery was down to her last ounce of stability... She'd lost everything, including a lover that she was quite happy to be rid of... But, losing her job was a traumatic experience, for anyone, especially with her love for being in the art world, seeing all of the beautiful images that had been created by so many great artists, past and present.

She had an interview set up, even though she was not sure she wanted to work there. It was a problem because her father and grandfather had both disappeared while working there. Addie's memories was full of the past visiting with her family members... And she considered Otto, the last partner of the gallery, a close friend. Besides she felt he owed her this job as a research analyst. 

When she arrived, she met Ellen who had been with the firm since her early years of involvement. Now, Ellen seemed to resent her presence--she would have to find out why later when she had the chance--to "read" something she owned and explore her history... Nevertheless, when she arrived, Ellen escorted Addie into Otto's office to wait until he was finished with another meeting. There she saw Giovanni Bellini’s Madonna and Child. She could spend hours just enjoying and analyzing this famous piece of art. But sooner or later, she just had history... So while she waited for Otto, her finger touched just a small was an original! She saw scenes of Venice in 1480... Suddenly Otto was behind her, and she jumped, sliding her hand casually down to her side...  

Addie questioned, "Isn't It?" , even as he told her it was a copy, wondering what she would be told. Otto again denied that it was an original... And that began the intrigue Addie would experience as she was hired and started working for The Albrecht Firm. She was thrilled to be working again, and hoped she could find clues there as to what happened to her family... 

Addie was a psychic, with maybe even more gifts, but the only other one she had learned about was her ability to see ghosts. She was afraid of ghosts, even now as an adult. But her primary passion was to learn about people, objects and just about anything she could touch, including the walls of a building. But because of her abilities, she turned them off and on, in order to manage her life activities... And, then there's Jack, her dream lover from an earlier life...

Like a vision out of 1920, Jack, this beautiful man from my past, wears a pale blue button-down shirt that sets off his striking blue eyes and blond hair, slicked and styled with a side part. On his face is a rakish grin. Light pours in from beyond the French doors, surrounding his head like a heavenly aura, and the red-and-gold silk curtains frame his figure. He is like an elegant John Singer Sargent painting. I look forward to my regular visits from him. The dreams vary, the scenery changes, our discussions evolve, though he is always deliciously the same. Today we’re at a garden party, but we’re inside. The sounds of chatter and laughter filter in from outside. We’re alone, together. The rest of the world ceases to exist. The heat coming off him burns against my skin, even though he stands across the room.
I look down to see that I’m wearing a blue silk Delphos dress with Venetian glass beads on the sides—my favorite color and material. He’s walking toward me, and my breath catches. Jack’s an incredible vision. And the love he emanates is so all-encompassing it makes me dizzy. I feel safe, understood, and loved. “Did you see it?” “See what?” “How could you miss it?” He chuckles at my cluelessness as he circles around me, wrapping an arm around my midsection. I sink into his embrace. His warm cheek touches mine as his other arm slides beneath my own, raising it to point at a portrait over the fireplace. I gasp as I behold a large oil painting of myself wearing sapphire blue, my own blue eyes staring back at me. I feel the rise of his cheek against my face. His smile is brimming at his success at taking my breath away. The colors in the painting vibrate, the rough brush strokes alive with memories. It pulls me forward through time. My companion fades, and my chest aches with the emptiness where he once had residence. His absence is too painful to remember. 
Years pass in blurred strands of color around the edges of my vision. I hear crowd chatter, and a distant, slightly warped record of Duke Ellington playing “It Don’t Mean a Thing” serenades me as the painting comes to rest in the overcrowded stall of what appears to be a swanky Paris flea market.
Then, from somewhere outside my conscious world, I realize he’s back. It’s him. The man with the steel-blue eyes and the cream-colored suit is walking slowly toward me. I stand up to greet him. He reaches me and runs his hand over my hair, brushing it lightly off my face. “You’re here,” I say. “I am here,” he says, his fingertips grazing up and down my bare arm. “We don’t usually meet here. We usually meet there, where we used to be.” He says nothing, but a slow smile widens across his face. The love I feel for him spreads throughout my chest. 
“We’re going to meet here from now on,” he says with a smooth voice, a knowing look in his sparkling eyes. 
“Because it’s time.” 
“Time for what?”

Addie was to exhausted from the...deceptions...of her recent past, so that when she was introduced to Blake by Otto, as someone with whom she'd be working, she was afraid...very afraid...because she was immediately and intensely attracted to him. But, exactly, who was he...and could he be trusted? Can anybody be trusted? Yes, she was told that by the ghost that was following Blake around--and it was obvious that he'd been... murdered!

The concert by Vermeer
Addie has one other character, a sister, Alexi, who also has gifts. She is able to help Addie work and think through all that is happening... Thankfully... Because before the book ends, she's going to be scared! Very scared! And during that time, she discovered exactly what was going on...

I'm already into the second book, couldn't wait. (One of the reasons I'm loving ebooks more and more, just download and you can start reading in a minute or two!) You've now met most of the main characters. As you read, you can begin to look for deception. Because as the ghost warned, "“You might want to think twice about who you spend your time with.” By the way, his name is Frank and "was" a member of the mob... Yes, the Mafia is here!

Loved this book from "cover to cover" (although I do miss a back cover blurb)... Past life, psychics, ghosts, and other paranormal gifts, merge effectively and completely into a tale of criminal activities within the art world featuring many of the great masters... And the major theft of many from a major museum will begin and run through, maybe all three books! I Can't Wait! If you're into sitting back, relaxing, and just enjoying...go get this trilogy and plan to read it in a weekend!

Paris Through the Window, Marc Chagall

Ok, I had to add this last painting...look at it closely, besides the cat, bodies are falling from the Tower... Wow!

Elder Care Tip
If your walker is not on wheels, you can buy what looks like little sleds to provide easier movement. Be careful, though, they will catch on wires and other items without your knowing. Still, I wouldn't want to be without them on my primary walker. I got mine at Amazon...

God bless

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