REVIEW: The Steal by M.J. Rose and C.W. Gortner
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend—until they’re stolen.
Ania Thorne 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?
Set in the late 1950s, The Steal is a romantic caper by bestselling authors C.W. Gortner and M.J. Rose.
Dear Ms. Rose and Mr. Gortner,
Well, this one was interesting. Fun, frustrating, tense, and glamorous as well. But …but you mean I have to wait for part two to discover .. oh but I can’t mention that or it will be a spoiler.
As it was probably intended to do, the cover made me think of Grace Kelly and “To Catch a Thief” along with a hefty dose of French Riviera glamor. Of course I had to read it. The book is actually fairly short in length so I don’t begrudge the action starting even before the book does and then not letting up much for the remainder.
Rumpled insurance investigator (so not a high powered job for our hero but I loved that) Jerome Curtis arrives after the impressive heist of mega moolahs worth of designer jewelry, tasked with trying to recover the bespoke pieces that Ania Thorne brought for some of her wealthy and famous clients to wear to the festival. He’s impressed that she hasn’t collapsed from the shock but both he and I can easily see that beautiful Ania maintains a tight grip over her emotions. So tight that at times I thought she’d crack. After her father was ousted from the board of his own company, Ania stepped in and took over and her control is part of making it as a woman in a man’s world.
It doesn’t take Curtis long to figure a few things out and begin to rock Ania’s professional world. By the end of 24 hours, Ania is facing some hard truths – can she contain the damage to the company’s reputation? Is there a chance that Curtis can figure out if the famous jewel thief the “Leopard” is the one behind this? And what are these two going to do about that evening in a small hotel in the Latin Quarter?
The high society of the mid 1950s are evoked in all their glamour and elegance. Jerome has a bit of a chip on his shoulder which might be do to the fact that he wears a creased gabardine suit amidst this world of quiet riches where his company’s client has her own jet, apartments in Paris and Los Angeles, and rubs shoulders with the movers and shakers who have the cash to drop on her elegantly created pieces of jewelry.
Jerome also has an idea who might be behind the theft and manages to stay equal to or only one step behind someone who has carefully planned every move and knows exactly what they’re doing. Ania carefully curates the facade of an unflappable woman and for the most part (huzzah!) she is one. She’s been raised to eventually take over the company and nothing is going to destroy what she’s worked so hard to claw back once already from the brink. She also owns her sexuality.
As the two of them rushed to figure out what could happen next, I began to try and put together the clues. A few things I felt needed a bit more explanation yet at the same time, that would have probably given the game away too early. I had an inkling about who dunnit but even with a little villain monologuing, most of what is needed to piece together the thief’s identity is there. Ania’s reactions to the roller coaster her life becomes seem realistic while Jerome tips his hand about his feelings by his action in the end rather than anything he says. As the book ends, these two are still not in any real relationship which is fine with me since it would push things into something that just isn’t there yet. I hope that there will be a sequel because … well, reasons and I want to see more of these two clashing in all the ways they clash. B-
This sounds great. Although I am by no means nostalgic for the 50s, I love the clothes, glamor and mystery of books/movies like this. Reading about Jerome reminded me of being a 22-year-old American student (complete with bib overalls as was de rigueur at the time) in Cannes during the film festival and knowing *quite clearly* I did not belong there. I will definitely take a closer look at this caper. Thanks for the review.
@Darlynne: The book made me think of this one – https://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/overall-a-reviews/a-minus-reviews/review-trail-of-the-tudor-blue-by-gwen-roman/ – from days gone by that I wish had had a follow-up but which, that I can find, never did.
But yes I adore 50s fashions and glamor.
@Jayne: the book and Gwen Roman seem to have vanished completely from Amazon.
@Etv13: There was a paperback listing of the book a few weeks or so ago but the digital has been long gone. I tried to find more about the author on the internet and social media but there’s basically nothing recent.
The Kindle edition is in my wishlist right now for $3.99, haven’t been able to read the sample yet. I found it under MJ Tose. Off to buy it now before it disappears.
@Darlynne: Oh I don’t think “The Steal” will disappear. Etv and I were talking about the book I linked to – “Trail of the Tudor Blue.” That’s the one that’s gone now.
Sounds interesting. I’m curious about it.
I was fond of Georgette Heyer’s and Elizabeth Peters’ (esp. Vicky Bliss) lighthearted mysteries. I’ve also enjoyed some of Mary Stewart’s mysteries. Is this book’s tone humorous, gothic, or something else?
@Hilly: The tone is more serious with bits of darkness. Jerome and another character were in the Army together during WWII and hunted war criminals. From bits and pieces of description, this still haunts them. The heroine has had a difficult relationship with her father and the expectations he has had for her in their business. All this gets mixed with the “caper” feel so that the book isn’t a downer but it’s not lighthearted or very humorous.
Roman’s Trail of the Tudor Blue was in the 2012 DABWAHA and on a DA page about the opening of voting, Jane mentions Roman has a second pen name, Jennifer McAndrews (https://dearauthor.com/features/da-bwaha/dabwaha-voting-is-set-to-begin/comment-page-1/). I went looking and McAndrews has written 4 mysteries, but she doesn’t mention Tudor Blue or her Gwen Roman alias on her website (http://jennifermcandrews.com/).