In Reluctant Burglar, Jill Elizabeth Nelson blends suspense, mystery, and romance to give readers a glimpse into the widespread, though often unacknowledged, world of art theft. Desiree Jacobs is a professional, independent woman. She works for her fathers security company, dealing directly with priceless works of art. The only problem is she soon encounters Tony Lucano, a composed and calculating FBI agent investigating an art theft ring operating in Boston. Tony is certain that Hiram Jacobs, Desirees father, is involved and that she probably is, too. When Hiram is murdered, the FBI is given a new lead in what had appeared to be a standstill case. Convinced of her fathers innocence, Desi vows to uphold his memory with honor. Then she discovers a clue that leads her to a container holding enough evidence to give Tonys claim validity. Now Desi must figure out her fathers role in the theft ring and why he even began stealing art in the first place. When the criminals who killed Hiram come after her, Desi must make the hard choice of whether or not to trust Tony Lucano.
The story is told from both Desiree and Tonys points of view. While the circumstances they face are extraordinary, their faith is tested in ways that readers can relate to. Tony attempts to witness to his stone-hearted, giant of a partner, Steve Crane. Though his masculine nature fought against it, Tony followed divine guidance and shared a broken part of his heart that no one else had known about, which proved beneficial for both men.
Nelsons diverse range of characters adds substance and even humor to her overall story. Her characters and their relationships are the novels greatest strengths. Seeing the relationship between Tony and Desi unfold is both painful and entertaining. Though each feels attracted to the other, uncertainty causes them to try to unnerve each other with audacious schemes.
Reluctant Burglar is Nelsons first novel. She has written professionally for many years as a journalist, columnist, essayist, poet, storyteller, and book reviewer. Her style is fast paced and flavored with humor, action, and emotion. Her description is carefully worked into each scene so that readers not only get a sense of background, but they also see the characters emotions reflected in their appearance and actions. Reluctant Burglar has depth and spirit; it would be a great book for those who love mystery, action, or romance. Bridgette L. Oakes, Christian Book Previews.com
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