If indeed an editor exists with respect to the compilation of this book, perhaps he/she could have borrowed the author's thesaurus.
Despite the lectures the author provides on how art theft is funding the drug trade and terrorism, the thieves, motivated by love, loss, and a sense of fairness, are the only characters not mocked or stereotyped. Charney thanks his editors in the acknowledgements but apparently no one actually edited the writing.
He has all his characters speak in half french (which I know) and Italian and half in English - to each other! Why would two french characters speak in half french and english to one another?
Overall, I think the mystery aspect of the book was entertaining and not overtly obvious, so probably successful. Of course they were simple, conversational terms, but I was proud of my ability to read them. It's not really meant to do so, but it appealed to all of the things I am proud of, and so gave me a better sense of my own academic ability and worth.
Noah Charney is a professor of art history and an expert in fine art forgery and theft. The Art Thief is a tale of brain-teasing complexity involving multiple, interconnected forgeries and thefts of historic paintings from several institutions. And its resolution necessarily involves multiple detectives and forensic experts, each as colorful and eccentric in his own way as Inspector Clouseau. Charney is going to teach you a lot about art history and criticism. (Charney's latest is nonfiction on his favorite subject - The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of the Master Forgers.)
I come from the Art History field, and you'd be surprised how many people just massacre art works with false information, or far-fetched ideas (Da Vinci Code, anyone?).
Plus, after reading all the hooty-tooty art stuff that the author just had to prove he knew, that picture of him on the back of the book makes me want to punch him in his high-class artsy-fartsy nose. Seriously, in the small portion of the book I could get through, there were at least ten 2-page soliloquies of one character talking non-stop.
The Art Thief has received some very mixed reviews, not all of which have been objective, or even particularly pleasant to read, if you were author, Noah Charney. Personally, I did have one or two reservations about the book Namely that the paperback edition I read from, had print so small that I almost needed a magnifying glass to see it, consequently it seemed to take forever to read and was not quite as absorbing as it might have otherwise been Also, at one point, just a few pages in, I felt so bogged down by art terminology and description, that I did wonder if I would be able to finish reading, if the remainder of the story was written in the same vein Boy am I glad I did! As the story was written from so many different points of view, far from feeling overwhelmed, I felt a great affinity with the characters by the end of the book, as both the physical and emotional details about the main players was so well documented. Whilst this obviously shines through in the authenticity and detail he adds to the premise of what could have been a five star crime story, I have this niggling worry that the balance just wasnt quite right somehow Perhaps it was just a little too complicated, as if Noah had tried to include too many points of information, almost wishing that he had made himself one of the characters assigned to solving the case. I still think that The Art Thief was a 4 star read, because for me personally, all the ingredients of an interesting and unique crime series are there, it is simply a question of getting the balance of the ingredients right and for Noah to nail down whereabouts in the marketplace he is aiming to position his fiction writing, to make it as successful as the many non-fiction papers and books he has authored.
But the end was cut too short. Then the ending just left me with questions.