Saturday, June 1, 2013

Review - Restrike by Reba White Williams

Money and murder go hand in glove in the rarified art world of Reba White Williams's exciting first novel, Restrike.

Cousins Coleman and Dinah Greene moved from North Carolina to New York after college to make their mark on the art world: Coleman is the editor of an influential arts magazine and Dinah is the owner of a print gallery in Greenwich Village. But their challenges are mounting as one of Coleman's writers is discovered selling story ideas to a competitor and The Greene Gallery is in the red because sales are down.

When billionaire Heyward Bain arrives with a glamorous assistant, announcing plans to fund a fine print museum, Coleman is intrigued and plans to get to know Bain and publish an article about him. Dinah hopes to sell him enough prints to save her gallery. At the same time, swindlers, attracted by Bain’s lavish spending, invade the print world to grab some of his money.

When a print dealer dies in peculiar circumstances, Coleman is suspicious, but she can’t persuade the NYPD crime investigator of a connection between the dealer’s death and Bain’s buying spree. After one of Coleman’s editors is killed and Coleman is attacked, the police must acknowledge the connection, and Coleman becomes even more determined to discover the truth about Bain. In an unforgettable final scene, Coleman risks her life to expose the last deception threatening her, her friends, and the formerly tranquil print world.

Review by:  Scott

4 stars

Restrike by Reba White Williams is the first book in the Coleman and Dinah Greene Mystery series.  Telling the story of the Greene cousins who grew up in a poor family, but have turned things around and are both heavily involved in the New York art scene.  Dinah runs a small gallery specializing in prints while Coleman runs an art magazine featuring East Coast artists.

When a rich man moves into town with plans on opening a print museum both of the Greene women are drawn into the drama that follows him.  Bain is buying some very rare prints at auctions for well over the estimated sales value and when one of the sellers winds up dead Coleman begins to look into it for her magazine.  She is unable to come up with anything on Bain and has to fight her attraction to him to investigate him honestly.

I was a bit hesitant about this book after seeing the cover (I have an ARC and the cover is slightly different than the one pictured).  I actually put off reading this for a timed review until darn near the last minute, as it turns out that didn't end up being a problem.  I really enjoyed the book and had fun reading it.  Reba did a good job providing a lot of suspects to keep the reader guessing about what is really happening.  Each of the characters also has a strong personality and rich backstory.

I can't speak to the realism of the story as I have never been to New York and have absolutely no experience with the kind of art that is discussed.  Even without a background in the basis of the story it is easy to enjoy.  If you enjoy stories with strong female characters and a good amount of mystery this is a book to check out.

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