I really enjoyed this fourteenth instalment of Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series. I hadn't read any of the earlier books in this series and yet although there are clearly backstories amongst the characters, it felt satisfyingly stand-alone and very fresh for such a prolific writer.
Silva wastes no time in launching into his story, sliding straight into a complex web of power politics surrounding the higher end of the international art market, the violent murder of one of its biggest players and the mysterious disappearance of a priceless Caravaggio.
That Silva loves his craft shines through his writing and his plots. I also loved the way the story swung between European cities; the writing around his settings made me feel as though I was actually there. It was also fascinating to read a mainstream book with a strong Israeli setting and cultural flavour. As for Allon and his team, refreshingly, they were not testosterone fuelled Bond males bent on the objectification of women. Instead, they were intelligent, talented, often artistic, quirky, even beta. And although I would have liked to have seen a LOT more of them (a 50/50 representation would have been fabulous), the female characters were generally forces to be reckoned with and for that reason, the male driven power dynamics to be found within so many suspense novels were not as prevalent in The Heist.
A terrific holiday read. Looking forward to reading some of those Gabriel Allon backstories.