FICTION

A Beautiful Crime

Harper. Jan. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780062853882. $28.99. F
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In his popular crime novels (e.g., Orient), Bollen offers first-rate entertainment that features attractive young people, beautiful locations, contentious families, fabulous wealth, lies and deceit, friendship and passion, and dirty deeds. This enjoyable new work is set in the gorgeous city of Venice, and the “beautiful crime” of the title involves family silver and a nasty piece of work named Richard Forsyth West, an affluent businessman who richly deserves the payback he receives in the final pages. The novel is really about love, though, with Bollen actually telling two love stories. The first centers on Clay Guillory, a young man who falls for an older, wealthy gentleman, Freddy van der Haar, whom he nurses affectionately during the long, final stages of a terminal illness. No one in Freddy’s family can believe this is anything more than gold-digging, but the relationship is revealed to be tender and authentic. The second involves Clay and his new boyfriend, Nick Brink, a relationship that begins as the two become partners in crime but develops into something deeper.
VERDICT Bollen links each of the two narratives in significant ways to the criminal adventure to offer skillfully wrought crime fiction plumbing LGBTQ romance and the meaning of love.

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