Author: David Hosp
ISBN: 978-0-446-58015-1, Pages: 384, $24.99, Publication Date: January 11, 2010, Hardcover, A Novel, Published by: Grand Central Publishing
Boston attorney, David Hosp, is the author of three previous novels: “Dark Harbor” (2005), “The Betrayed” (2006), and “Innocence” (2007). “Among Thieves” is his latest thriller featuring attorney Scott Finn, along with his unforgettable colleagues.
This novel was inspired by the greatest art theft in American history. On March 18, 1990, in the wee hours after the St. Patrick’s Day celebration, 13 masterpieces were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and to-date, none have been recovered. These included works by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet, and others.
Two thieves, dressed as police officers, knocked on the security entrance door at about 1:24 AM and said they needed to investigate a disturbance. The young, inexperienced security guards naively let them in. The guards were handcuffed and brought to the basement. The thieves bound their hands and feet, duct-tapped their mouths and eyes, and strapped them to the support posts. With a map, they proceeded to the 2nd floor of the museum and stole the art and when they left, the surveillance tape was ripped out. According to newspaper reports, the guards were found alive and otherwise unharmed.
The hunt for the missing artwork is the intriguing theme of this novel. Even though this novel is based on fiction, the details about the museum robbery are based on fact. It is said that people have expended large amounts of money seeking to recover the stolen art, to no avail. Many theories have circulated through the years about who was responsible. Fictional character attorney Finn and his comrades have their own theories in their quest to recover the missing artwork.
Finn and his associates are put in great peril when they agree to represent an old friend for petty theft who was once mixed up with organized crime in the early 1990’s. The representation of this client leads Finn into confrontation with Boston’s underworld crime gangs with possible connections to the IRA (Irish Republican Army). Events begin to get ugly as excitement abounds with bloody shootouts, 7 heinous murders, and a kidnapping of a 14-year-old girl. This certainly makes this a page-turner with astonishing events that capture your attention.
The fascination with this heist is still on-going and many theories have circulated about the factual events throughout the years about who actually committed this magnificent heist. Today, the art is worth over 5 billion dollars and has a 500 million dollar reward for the return of the art in good condition. Thieves who try to sell stolen artwork at this time will find it more difficult to dispose of valuable paintings since the laws of foreign countries have changed so that the “innocent purchaser for value” protection has been lifted. Now, if you buy stolen art, you lose possession of it to the true owner and all the money you paid you lose. Artwork is now insured and there are specialists who track it down with more scientific methods than those which were available in the past.
Interestingly and fortunate for the museum, the most valuable piece of art, “The Rape of Europa” by Titian, was never taken because it was located on the 3rd floor and was omitted from the thieves’ map which only detailed the 2nd floor.
“Among Thieves” is an action-packed novel with many twists and turns, including a surprise ending. David Hosp is a master story-teller who gives great attention to detail and meticulous historical accuracy. This book is highly recommended.