The Art Forger is a well crafted mystery that hooks you quickly, and keeps you engrossed, while giving you a fascinating education in the history of art forgery and the techniques used to fool even the best of experts. The center character, Claire Roth, is a talented artist in her own right, but through some unfortunate choices ( as a result of being in love with and worshipping a talented but manic artist ) finds herself an outcast in the world, and subsists on making copies of masterpieces for a reproduction company. Enter Aiden Markel, handsome and enormously successful and influential gallery owner, with a supposed Degas from the "After the Bath" series - one that has been missing for years from a heist from the Gardner museum. Aiden asks Claire to create a forgery, and she enters into a bargain to do so. But, this bargain takes her on an adventure with unexpected twists and turns, primarily because, as she begins her preparations to create her copy, she comes to believe that the "original" she has in possession is indeed a forgery itself. As Claire creates her copy with painstaking detail and technologies, she embarks upon her own hunt for the truth of the painting she has in possession. And, this is where the author weaves into the story an intriguing and detailed education into the methods and technical wizardry of forgery. Not only do you, the reader, get a great mistery, but you get a great education. The writer paints a great picture herself, of the events and the surprising ending, but she also takes you well inside the psychological angst of Claire Roth as she struggles to be known as the great artist she is in her own right, and as she wrestles with her conscience as she continues with the task at hand.
I anxiously await B. A. Shapiro's next effort. She is an amazing storyteller.
This review has been written by J. S.