Book Review: “Cold Tuscan Stone” by David P. Wagner

February 13, 2015 at 5:46 am | Posted in Books | Leave a comment
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David P. Wagner in his new book, “cold tuscan stone book coverCold Tuscan Stone” Book One in the Rick Montoya Italian Mystery series published by Poisoned Pen Press introduces us to Rick Montoya.

From the back cover:   Rick Montoya has just moved from Santa Fe to Rome, embracing the life of a translator. He’s beginning to embrace la dolce vita when school friend Beppo, now senior in the Italian Art Squad, recruits Rick for an unofficial undercover role. Armed with a list of galleries, suspects, and an expense account, Rick would arrive in Tuscany posing as a buyer for a Santa Fe gallery and flush out traffickers in priceless burial urns.

But, before sunset on his first day in Volterra, the challenge intensifies. Rick has one quick conversation with a gallery employee who dies minutes later in a brutal fall from a high cliff. Has the trade in fraudulent artifacts upgraded to murder? Are the traffickers already on to Rick?

The local Commissario and his team consider Rick an amateur, and worse, a foreigner. Plus Rick is a suspect in what proves to be the dead man’s murder. While the Volterra squad pursues its leads, Rick and the Volterra museum director continue to interview his list: a top gallery owner, a low-profile import/export businessman and his enterprising color-coordinated assistant, a sensuous heiress with a private art specialty and clientele. When Rick’s lover Erica, an art history professor, arrives from Rome to visit him, she rekindles a friendship with an alluring, maybe dangerous, heiress. Has Rick’s role made him the target of both cops and criminals?

Rick Montoya relocated from New Mexico and now lives in Rome working as a freelance translator. What a life. Now he has been recruited to be a spy to find what gallery is selling illegal traffickers. Then there is a murder. Rick becomes a suspect. Now we have to find out who really did it before there is another one.  Get ready to try to solve a murder, which I am pretty sure you won’t be able to do, all the while enjoying the scenery of Tuscany as if we are on a tourist holiday in this stunningly beautiful town. Danger, art thieves, suspense and murder all figure into this highly complicated plot. Rick Montoya is an engaging new character that has flaws but is so likeable. “Cold Tuscan Stone” is loaded with twists and turns and red herrings that will leave you guessing all the while you are flipping pages to find out what happens next. I am so glad to have discovered David P. Wagner and am so looking forward to more stories with Rick Montoya.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Poisoned Pen Press.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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