Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Publication: May 14, 2020
Age Group: Adult
A stolen painting. A gangster intent on revenge. And nothing is what it seems.
Art consultant Kate Carpenter has an off-the-books sideline in art recovery, dealing with thieves, gangsters and the occasional war criminal to reunite priceless artworks with their owners. But when she refuses a request from the owner of one missing painting, Yuri Sokolov isn’t prepared to take no for an answer.
Her knowledge has cost him millions, he wants revenge, and he isn’t planning to show any mercy. The only way that Kate can get Yuri Sokolov to keep his distance is to find out exactly what happened to his painting, but when she starts scraping away at the surface, she finds that nothing is exactly as it appears.
Don’t Blink is the first book in the Kate Carpenter series.
If you haven’t read Vanishing Point, the novella that introduces Kate Carpenter, you must stop right now and go read it! I had a fantastic time reviewing Vanishing Point, check that out here, and it is a great introduction to Kate’s world.
I love this concept of a high stakes art consultant, involved with insurance dealings, paying ransoms for stolen art, and recovering paintings, as well as advising clients on pieces to purchase. Vanessa Robertson is an incredibly skilled writer, bringing to life fun characters, following a believable premise, and giving the reader just enough romance to really tie the entire story together.
Kate is, of course, my favorite character. She is headstrong, self-possessed, a product of her experiences, and an all around well written human being. Oftentimes, I see characters who don’t have enough human nature in them, but Kate is absolutely human. Through her struggles and relationships, the reader see the full breadth of her personality and it’s something that I would read again and again.
The pacing of the novel is well done. It isn’t over exposition-ed, but there is enough to help the reader understand Kate’s world. Action is prevalent, with a healthy dose of whodunit, leaving the reader to puzzle out the mystery on their own. I really enjoyed this and saw the author’s writing ability through the narrative’s twists and turns. Hints are skillfully dropped for the reader to pick up and piece together along the way!
There are references to domestic violence, abuse, stalking, intimidation, and implied sexual assault. These items are dealt with in a very skilled manner throughout the novel and I found them to contribute to the narrative rather than being something written for the sake of being written. Again, Vanessa Robertson uses skillful prose to incorporate these things in a way that is respectful.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel and can’t wait to read more Kate Carpenter novels! This reminded me of the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich, which is a genre I’ve highly enjoyed through the years. This is a great novel for readers who enjoy clean thrillers with strong female protagonists and a splash of romance!
Thank you so much to Love Books Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour! Check out all of the other amazing reviews for Don’t Blink!
Vanessa Robertson has lived in Scotland for over twenty years. A former publisher and bookseller, she won the Pitch Perfect event for unpublished writers at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in Stirling in 2015.
Death Will Find Me, a crime novel set in 1920s Edinburgh featuring former spy, Tessa Kilpatrick, was her first novel, and Don’t Blink, the first in a series set in the world of art crime investigator Kate Carpenter was published in May 2020, with the second, Trace Evidence, scheduled for later in the year. Vanessa has also published a short novella, Vanishing Point, introducing the character of Kate, which is available on Amazon and free via her website at www.vanessarobertson.co.uk.
Vanessa lives in a cottage in the middle of a Scottish wood with her family and ridiculously large dog. Currently, she’s editing the third Kate Carpenter thriller, researching the next Tessa Kilpatrick 1920s novel, and trying not to be distracted by new plot ideas. Vanessa loves windswept beaches, the coffee-scented fug of Venetian cafes and wandering around art galleries.