False Impression by Jeffrey Archer


SuspenseFalse Impression by Jeffrey Archer

False ImpressionJeffrey Archer; St. Martin’s Press 2006WorldCat

Anna Petrescu has her Ph.D. in art, especially Renaissance era art. She is one of the world’s leading experts in fine Renaissance artwork. She had worked at Southeby’s auction house but lost that job due to an indiscreet comment to someone she trusted. Now she works for Bryce Fenston, the head of Fenston Banking. He collects fine art. His company secures loans on others’ homes and fine art. Oddly enough, his company often collects the collateral on those loans, increasing his own personal art collection.

It is September 11, 2001. Anna has found a way for one of Fenston’s clients to save the family heirlooms and repay Fenston. He is unhappy because he wants the priceless Van Gogh that was sold by the painter to one of the Wentworth ancestors. If the loan is repaid, he can’t claim the painting. They meet in the offices on the 83rd floor of the North Tower. They have a short meeting. Fenston leaves for a meeting on Wall Street. Anna goes back to her office and is waiting at the elevator when the plane hits the building.

Jack Delaney is an FBI agent who has been following Anna. He hasn’t determined if she is working with Fenston on his illegal activities or if she is an honest person tied up in something she doesn’t realize. He is in his office in the Federal Plaza when the airplane flies into the North Tower.

Anna follows instructions immediately and heads towards the stairwell. She is one of the few people from the Fenston offices who survives the building’s collapse. Plus she is considered missing, presumed dead. She takes this opportunity to fly to England to protect the Van Gogh for the Wentworth family. Jack discovers she is alive and follows her. Fenston sends a cold blooded hired killer to the Wentworth home. Now Anna has to rescue the priceless painting, stay alive, and convince the FBI that she isn’t involved in Fenston’s schemes.

This is Archer’s newest novel, just released last month in March, 2006. He takes Anna and his readers around the world in this suspense tale from New York in chaos to England to Romania to Hong Kong to Japan and back again. Krantz, the hired killer, is as cold and sociopathic (psychopathic?) as they come. Krantz’ trademark of a completed kill is to send the left ear of the victim to Fenston.

Although the novel never quite gels into an edge-of-the-seat suspense thriller, it gives a good mystery and world wide chase. The ending has a masterful bit with one of Krantz’ victims. False Impression doesn’t seem as long as some of the other novels Archer has written. I think more background description is needed to fill out both Jack and Anna’s characters.

This is the first Archer novel I’ve read. His reputation leads me to expect the edge-of-the-seat suspense that’s missing here.

Notice: Graphic violence

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