Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"The Art Thief"

Noah Charney holds degrees in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art and Cambridge University. He is the founding director of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA), the first international think tank on art crime.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his debut novel, The Art Thief, and reported the following:
From page 69:

"Sir, I think you should see this. We may have a situation."

The fourth-floor computer terminus was the security nerve center of the National Gallery of Modern Art, in London, a half mile from the Christie's auction rooms. The room was ringed with computers and closed-circuit television screens. Two security personnel sat in black-suited surveillance, including Jillian Avery, who now called to her supervisor.

"There's a disturbance in the basement, in the Utility Room. We've registered some movement, but the closed circuit isn't showing anyone. See?"

Over-night security coordinator Toby Cohen leaned over Avery's shoulder, as his eyes scanned her computer screen, and skipped across to the CC-TVs on the wall. The TV screen showed an empty Utility Room.

"Anything on the nature of the disturbance?"

"A door is reading as unlocked. The main door to the Utility Room. Must have swung open. That's all we've got." Avery clicked at her computer. "What should we do?"

"Radio to Stammers and Fox. Tell them to check it out."

Avery dialed into her computer, and connected to the security walkie-talkie. She spoke into a microphone.

"Control to Security Two. Control to Security Two. Do you copy? Control to Security Two. Do you copy? Control to…"

"What's going on? What's wrong with them?" Cohen approached the computer.

"They're not responding, Sir."

That's the excerpt from page 69 of The Art Thief, the opening of Chapter 9. It's an interesting selection, because it is pure thriller, whereas the book itself is more a work of literary puzzle plot fiction with a thriller lurking in the wings, rather than a thriller proper. Indeed, it was a bit tricky for the publishers to decide how to market my book. Its "thrilling" elements are more along the lines of a spy novel, rather than something action-based. But the intricacies of the plot are the driving force, piecing together the jigsaw of it. This section falls into one of the few genuine action/thriller slices of an otherwise more intellectual novel. But I am pleased with this section, as it certainly succeeds begging you to read on!
Read an excerpt from The Art Thief and learn more about the book and its author at Noah Charney's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue