An L.A. Times Book Prize Finalist | An O Magazine Best Book of the Year
“Stylish… a compelling take on the eternal question of how good people morph into criminals. Terrific.”—People, Book of the Week
From the author of The Destroyers comes an "intricately plotted and elegantly structured" (Newsday) story of intrigue and deception, set in contemporary Venice and featuring a young American couple who have set their sights on a risky con.
When Nick Brink and his boyfriend Clay Guillory meet up on the Grand Canal in Venice, they have a plan in mind—and it doesn’t involve a vacation. Nick and Clay are running away from their turbulent lives in New York City, each desperate for a happier, freer future someplace else. Their method of escape? Selling a collection of counterfeit antiques to a brash, unsuspecting American living out his retirement years in a grand palazzo. With Clay’s smarts and Nick’s charm, their scheme is sure to succeed.
As it turns out, tricking a millionaire out of money isn’t as easy as it seems, especially when Clay and Nick let greed get the best of them. As Nick falls under the spell of the city’s decrepit magic, Clay comes to terms with personal loss and the price of letting go of the past. Their future awaits, but it is built on disastrous deceits, and more than one life stands in the way of their dreams.
A Beautiful Crime is a twisty grifter novel with a thriller running through its veins. But it is also a meditation on love, class, race, sexuality, and the legacy of bohemian culture. Tacking between Venice’s soaring aesthetic beauty and its imminent tourist-riddled collapse, Bollen delivers a "brilliantly conceived international crime story" (Good Morning America).
At the start of this stunning crime novel from Bollen (The Destroyers), 25-year-old Nicholas Brink leaves his lover and life in New York City to meet his new boyfriend, Clay Guillory, in Venice. There, the two young men set in motion a supposedly foolproof con to unload counterfeit silver on Richard Forsyth West, a charming, wealthy ex-pat American for whom Clay once worked and who's immersed in Venice's renovation. Clay inherited the silver from his last partner, the much older Freddy van der Haar. The sale will allow Clay to pay off debts incurred while caring for Freddy and allow the couple a fresh start. While the swindle fuels the plot, the story gains its strength from its look at gay romance and how individuals become a couple, as well as its view of shabby yet chic Venice, with its "fugitive magic" that lacks "the reality check of poverty and ugliness and ordinary struggles." Clay and Nick grapple with their morals and greed while remaining appealing. Readers will easily root for them to get away with the con.