A Novel for Now: (Five Stars)
Writing in this American era where both halves of the voting public believe the other half is promoting a con, Krever returns with his full speed mix of one liners, global plot twists, and cast of genial art forgery con artists for this Swindler and Son sequel. Sure enough, the gravitational force of way too much money at the top pulls this lovable, eccentric crew into a milieu of high stakes global money laundering and assassination attempts, where only honest swindlers can figure out how to outplay the bigger swindlers and survive.
As suits this current moment, the page turning fun gains depth with reflections about memory, honesty, reality, social trust, truth, humanity, authenticity, and art. No spoiler alerts except this: the biggest cons have consequences, true friendship in the end relies on a moral center.
Impeccably Researched and Insightful Sequel with Characters I’ve Grown to Love: (5 stars)
There are few authors who can capture the in-the-moment mental gymnastics of a decision crisis like Ted Krever. (“I begin to operate on a different wavelength. Paranoia has awakened and, as ever, finds plenty to chew on.”)
This sequel refers to the first SWINDLER & SON novel by name, so I have no problem repeating this exact paragraph from my review of the first novel because it still applies:
Nicky is a guy I’d just love to be. Able to clock people’s needs and deliver on them. Mastering chess-like strategies to stay ahead and building them into full-proof systems. And then, when something happens to pull all those systems out from under your feet, having enough life-experience and quick observation skills to scramble for solutions. He dwells in his grief, insecurities and imperfections and gets the job done anyway. I would gladly live with these characters again in a sequel.
I’m so glad I got to live with them again in the sequel!
Again, Krever provides a strong foundation of research (art forgeries, The Dark Web, shell companies, Russian pipelines, and more) on which his characters can game-play for their lives. Everyone is brilliant, but Krever gives them all unique voices and tactics. The characters actually communicate, learn from each other, and adjust their actions accordingly. Their love for each other manifests itself in different ways (“I sketched the outlines and let Harry paint in the colors and take the credit.”)
The peripheral characters are sketched masterfully, instantly defined by their manner of ordering beverages (“I’ve got tea, tea and tea, vodka and sherry, American whiskey and Scotch whiskey and some really sweet German wine, which is shit but I love it.”) or the shape of their eyebrows (erupting like lightning bolts). I felt such glee at the reappearance of Proto, the sweet hit man trying on big vocabulary words with varying degrees of success.
I also appreciate Krever’s ability to give words to things I’ve felt before, like the hypocrisy of wanting free-range chicken without understanding what that even means; the sinking feeling of causing something bad but not being able to wrap my brain around it; why powerful enemies protect each other.
Ted Krever is an incredibly smart writer. His plotting strategy is smart, his characters are smart, and I feel like I’m a bit smarter by being in their company. Enjoy this latest installment!
An Ocean’s 11 set in the Art World (Five Stars)
I enjoyed the first of this series, and 100% Genuine Forgeries did not disappoint. Like the first book, I wasn’t always certain about what was going on, much like the rest of the players in the story when the team’s hacker Diamonte went about explaining his process. No one knows what the hell he’s talking about, but they understand what it gets them, and that’s all that’s important. By the way, the character Diamonte is a fantastic character. I loved him.
I think, though, that the moment I became invested in the story was when the artwork from Nazi Germany, tied to the character Sara’s ancestry, came into play. That was the moment when the con of the plot got personal.
If you like entertaining heist stories in general, I’m going to mention the Oceans Eleven series to give you an idea of tone, then this book, and its predecessor are worth your time.
100% Genuine Fun and Fast and Full of Wit!
Ted Krever tells a great story. In this second Swindler & Son — check out the first, it’s great, too! — he gets real, yet stays true to his lighter, wittier side, exploring aging and memory loss while keeping us on our toes figuring out who is fooling who and how. Sara is strong and divine. Harry is sweet and smart and I ended up wistfully sad at his situation. It feels like Nikki is talking right in my ear, sharing their secrets as the story unfolds. A fast read, and such FUN!
Such Fun! (4 stars)
If you enjoy a good romp through the art world (of which I know nothing but loved learning about) then this is the book for you! Nicky and Harry have worked together before (in book 1) and are very good at forging paintings to rake in a small fortune. But this sequel has an unexpected twist that you won’t see coming! Set in several places–including Moscow–this is a wild ride and a caper like you’ve never experienced before! So be prepared to set aside adulting for a while and just immerse yourself in this plot with wildly quirky characters and a great plot!
A Crazy Caper to Have as a Welcome Distraction in these Crazy Times: (4 stars)
The exploits of Nicky and the wacky cast of characters he rolls with will leave you entertained. I did not read the first Swindler and Sons adventure, but it is not a prerequisite as Krever provides enough background info for you to follow what transpired before this latest adventure. The plot is a slow build, but once it takes off, it’s a mad dash to the end!
Funny, Clever Romp!
Swindler & Sons 2 does NOT let up of disappoint. From start to finish, Krever delights you with sparkling banter and hilarious antics. Get this, you deserve it!