Charlesgate Confidential is a crime novel by Scott Von Doviak and was released by Hard Case Crime. So this took me a little bit of patience to start to enjoy, but ultimately I ended up being pretty impressed. The story covers three different eras and centers on the Charlesgate Hotel in Boston. It also draws upon an actual art heist that occurred as inspiration. Keep in mind that the author has taken quite a bit of liberties here with the actual crime.
In 1946, a poker game is held up which leads to the planning of a major heist from an art museum. Although the paintings are actually stolen, not much else goes to plan.
Forty years later, a journalism student encounters a parolee who leads him on a search for the still missing artwork.
Then in 2014, a seemingly random murder at the Charlesgate has a Boston police detective wrapped in the legacy of the initial robbery which puts his career in jepoardy.
The chapters alternate between the three time periods, so it could be a little difficult to keep in mind where a certain group of characters were left off. The chapters were fairly short so it was not that difficult to follow the story.
The actual art robbery from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum occurred in 1990. The Charlesgate various incarnations from stylish hotel, college dorms, and now a condo actually occurred. Of course, Boston, Massachusetts is a real place, but I think everyone knows that.
Von Duviak is generally a pretty straight-forward writer, but he does show a rather fertile imagination in the relating of this tale. He of course offers an afterward that explains some of the actual history of this crime, which is nice to have.
I believe that this is Von Duviak’s first novel. I am hesitant to say that he hit it out of the park, however he does score a significant hit. My enjoyment had to increase gradually, but I got there in time to want to finish it. So yeah, I would encourage any fellow crime fiction aficionados to check this novel out.
Next up on the totally improvised and endless literary journey, I will be reading a classic suspense by Patricia Highsmith and learn why I should be wary of Strangers On A Train.