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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘The Art Thief’ by Noah Charney

It was almost as if she were waiting, hanging there, in the painted darkness.

The small Baroque church of Santa Giuliana in Trastevere huddled in a corner of the warm Roman night. The streets were blue and motionless, illuminated only by the hushed light of a streetlamp from the square nearby.

Then there was a sound. Inside the church.

It was the faintest scream of metal on metal, barely perceptible in daylight, but now like a shriek of white against black. Then it stopped. The sound had been only momentary, but it echoed.

From out of the belly of the sealed church, a bird rose. A pigeon fluttered frantically along the shadowy chapel walls and swooped through the vaults and down the transept, carving a path blindly through the inky cavernous interior.

And then the alarm went off.

To read the full premise for the book, click on the cover image

To check out the author, Noah Charney …

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Churches are eerie enough places at the best of times, even more so at night time. Then to suddenly hear what must have been that high pitched scream of metal on metal, would have had me heading for the hills!

I am assuming that the ‘she’ referred to in the words, is a painting or artefact of some description and that as she is ‘waiting’, there is a robbery about to take place and someone is inside the church.

Great opening to the story!


A picture button for book beginnings at Rose City ReaderWould the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?

If so, would you like to share them with us, (without revealing too many spoilers of course) ?

Click here and visit your host, Gilion @ Rose City Reader

You can then leave a link to your own book beginnings post, or just browse for some great reads, there are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.

Don’t forget that Gilion and all the other contributors to this meme love to hear from you, so why not leave a comment or two at the same time?

I can’t wait to do a little blog hopping myself and check out all the great Book Beginnings you have!


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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Liza,

      Thanks for deciding to stop by Fiction Books this week. I love meeting new people, so your visits will always be welcome and your comments always appreciated.

      I have to say that this is one of the better book beginnings I have come across lately, as I am a great fan of descriptive writing and that opening paragraph really does set in a scene in my mind. The sound of metal on metal really grates on my nerves at the best of times, but to hear the sound in the middle of the night would be the stuff of nightmares, that’s for sure! – That and the pigeon flying close by in the dark, which would also spook me!

      Have a great weekend and Happy Reading 🙂

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I have to admit that your comment had me slightly baffled, as I couldn’t for the life of me see where any part of my post indicated that it was a dream.

      I read and re-read the words, although it took hubbie casting a fresh eye over it, to point out my unintentional error in including the line “And then the alarm went off”, even though that is literally the last line of the paragraph!

      As I have read some way into the story, I of course know that this isn’t an alarm clock ringing, but the burglar alarm on the church, which is described in the next paragraph … Isn’t it amazing how we can all interpret words differently when they are used in isolation and with no notion of context?

      See! – if for nothing else, you would have read on to discover that this was not a dream sequence 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and have a great weekend 🙂

    • Hi Lisa,

      If you read on past that opening paragraph, it becomes apparent that those first few lines are not in fact the dream / nightmare that someone is having, but the last line most definitely is, although not in the obvious way you might think!!

      Definitely a book beginning which drew me in and so far hasn’t let me go!

      Thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate your comments 🙂

    • Hi Katherine,

      ‘The Art Thief’ is so far living up to its full potential as a great mystery / thriller about the art world.

      With the author’s undoubted knowledge, passion and expertise in the world of art history and art crime, together with his ability to seamlessly combine fact with fiction on the subject, I am also learning so much as I read.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I always look forward to your visits 🙂

  • Based solely on the title and these opening lines, this sounds really good! I do want to know more and definitely need to check out the blurb on it. It might be just my kind of book!

    I’m hoping to finish up my current book, Missing Microbes by Martin J. Blaser, MD, today. It’s fascinating and a bit scary! Here’s the opening paragraph:

    “I never knew two of my father’s sisters. In the little town where they were born, early in the last century, they didn’t see their second birthdays. They had high fevers, and I’m not sure what else. The situation was so dire that my grandfather went to the prayer house and changed his daughters’ names to fool the angel of death. He did this for each girl. It did no good.”

    • Hi Kelly,

      The opening lines of ‘The Art Thief’ were definitely enough to keep me turning the pages, well into the night. I am still riveted to the storyline, although I haven’t had time to read any large chunks together since then.

      I have to say, if you are considering reading the book, that the reviews and ratings haven’t been that great, however personally, I am honestly in total disagreement with most of the comments I have read. If the ending lives up to expectations, I shall definitely be bucking the trend with my rating and review on this one!

      ‘Missing Microbes’ probably isn’t a book I would read, despite those intriguing and interesting opening lines (although I’ll tell hubbie about it, as it would be right up his alley), although is probably one I should be reading.

      You are talking to the world’s greatest scaredy cat, when it comes to anything medical, or hospital and doctor related. I would rather have all my teeth pulled out without anaesthetic, than visit the doctor and I have an irrational fear of needles or pills of any kind. The latter doesn’t sound like too bad a thing, if your book is to be believed, but the future for us all without new anti-biotics coming on stream pretty soon, isn’t a very pleasant picture for the future of mankind!

      I would say, ‘enjoy the book’, but perhaps that’s the wrong phrase — Maybe, ‘I hope you find the book informative’, is a better one’

      Thanks for sharing your lines this week 🙂

  • I love churches because they’re so echo-ey, but at night that would be the worst thing ever! I’m not quite sure whether this is one for me or not. I hope you enjoy it though! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I hope you have  great weekend!
    My Friday Meme
    Juli @ Universe in Words

    • Hi Juli,

      ‘Eerie and echoey’ are perhaps great words together to describe how I feel about traditional churches, although I do love looking around them, to admire the fantastic skill and architecture. They do however tend to contain such vast riches in priceless artifacts, that it is always a wonder to me that far more of them don’t get robbed!

      There is a great story building already, even after just a few pages.

      Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading 🙂

  • Certainly an extract that made me shiver but as you say churches tend to have that effect, this is definitely a book that appeals to me.

    Caliban strode out across a battleground which had, only hours before, been the scene of a terrible encounter between his forces and those of the now defeated demon lord Orfus.
    – Changeling: Demon Games by Steve Feasey.

    • Hi Tracy,

      I am thoroughly enjoying ‘The Art Thief’ so far, in spite of the not-so-good reviews it has received.

      Yes, there is quite a lot of technical ‘arty’ data and information included in the narrative, but that simply adds to the interest for me.

      With his work as an art historian and art criminologist, Noah can certainly write with authority on a subject in which he is a recognized expert and integrates his experiences seamlessly into his fiction writing.

      ‘Changeling’ has received some excellent reviews so far, however this definitely isn’t one for me. Nothing to do with either the book or author, as they both appear to be very well received, it is simply that the genre has to be my least favourite and not one which I would readily read through choice.

      I do hope that you are enjoying the book though and I look forward to reading your own thoughts about it, in due course. Thanks for sharing 🙂

Written by Yvonne