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The Last Van Gogh*

Compelling Mystery with Historical Backstory

What a well-written page-turner! This book is essentially a quest to find the last painting that van Gogh created and weaves in the story of how it became lost. Three distinct time periods are followed throughout the narrative, Van Gogh’s time, the 1930s before World War II, and present day (2018). The author does a fantastic job keeping these threads separate so they are not confusing. He does this both visually and using the writer’s toolbox. Van Gogh’s scenes are written in italics and from an omniscient viewpoint (well done for once by a modern writer), the pre-World War II scenes are in alternating third-person viewpoints, and the modern-day sections are written in the first-person vantage point by one intimately involved in the quest.

The characters in all timelines are well drawn, and I appreciate that the bad guys are complex, not just two-dimensional villains. The pace is tight, making you not want to put the book down. I found myself wanting to get to the next sections in the three different threads. The mystery here is complex in its heart as is the quest to unravel it.

I enjoy mysteries that have a historical element like this one, and this is one of the better ones that I have read. If you enjoy mystery like that as well, you might enjoy this book.