Young Blood and Old Paint
About the Book
Tommy McNaul is an FBI agent with twenty-five years of service, a firm sense of law and order, a beautiful Irish wife, and a passion for fine art. He risks them all one snowy night when he and his partner, Kate Bacon, lead a sting operation in Boston. Their mission is to recover Johannes Vermeer’s The Concert, stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1995.
The alleged seller directs the FBI Art Crimes agents to a suburban house in Lexington where Kate, posing as a wealthy German buyer, enters the house alone. A phone rings inside the house. Seconds later, Tom hears a shot, draws his gun, and the war is on.
Forced into retirement, and pursued by the Boston mob, Tom seeks shelter in his native New Mexico. There, he teams up with his estranged older brother, Willie, an ex-Marine turned private investigator. As the McNaul brothers sink deeper into the dark, violent world of major art crime, they find that they also must struggle with the innate conflicts between justice and the law.
About the Author
William Frank is a professor emeritus of tropical meteorology who has succeeded far beyond the world of professional journals in bringing a distinctive literary style to the modern detective story. His unique focus is on the one form of major crime that is primarily pursued by private detectives: international art theft. Young Blood and Old Paint was a finalist in the Private Eye Writers of America’s best first novel contest. Georgia in the Wind, his short story introducing the McNaul brothers, was selected from among 200 submissions for Mystery Writers of America’s 2019 anthology, Odd Partners.
Praise for Young Blood and Old Paint
Anne Hillerman, author of the New York Times best-selling Leaphorn/ Chee/Manuelito mysteries.
In an era of cookie-cutter plots and characters, Young Blood pulses with welcome, witty originality. Combined with a setting in quirky, historic Santa Fe, the story moves to a brisk and unexpected conclusion. Action, suspense, intrigue, and a smidgeon of romance make this look at the dangerous business of art theft and counterfeiting a memorable read. It’s just what I like in a mystery.
William Frank has a seasoned storyteller’s gift for creating memorable plot twists. I was hooked from the first page.
Midwest Book Review, Diane C. Donovan
Young Blood and Old Paint is a mystery revolving around Tommy McNaul, an FBI agent on the Art Crime Team who has an idyllic life until a sting operation gone awry under his watch results in the shooting of a congressman's son.
From the story's opening lines, William M. Frank captivates: "A wail like a keening banshee pulled Tom McNaul back to consciousness. As the howl of the Boston police cruiser faded into the urban din, he reached across the bed. The tangled sheets were damp, but Colleen was gone."
[Frank's] ability to capture events, emotions, and atmosphere using succinct, powerful language with a minimum of wasted words drives a story line packed with twists and turns - satisfyingly more so than the usual mystery.
The intrigue is nicely done, the thriller component is elevated through relationship and life encounters between perps, good guys, and those who operate in the gray area in-between, and the story line feels compellingly realistic.
From death threats Willie deems lame to how the brothers work together to formulate intention and identify the true culprits operating behind the scenes, readers remain riveted both by the art world and the evolving probe.
Powered by atmospheric and realistic moments of contemplation and discovery, the story line crafts a magnetic draw: "Something didn't add up. Tom's subconscious had battled the whiskey all through the short night, leaving him groggy and unenlightened. He stared out the window at the only visible frame—the neighborhood fire hydrant, splendidly lit within the cone of a streetlight. Erratic snowflakes spiraled down through the beam of light. The scene lacked only a couple of dogs wearing fedoras and drinking coffee."
Young Blood and Old Paint will especially delight those with an affection for the art world and the possibilities of criminal activity revolving around and within it. It's a gripping tale that keeps readers guessing and involved to the end.
William Frank reveals an impressive palette and a confident hand in Young Blood and Old Paint, a swirling novel of slick liars, masterful forgeries, and the negotiability of every price – particularly for art and human life.
The sharp and endlessly smart dialogue braids well with the rugged setting of this southwestern tale, along with a stoic protagonist, unpredictable bursts of action, and long strokes of beautiful prose.
Defying classification in a particular genre, the investigatory elements don’t slow the pace, the artistic details don’t get too tangential, and the meticulously worded narration puts the quality of Frank’s writing on a higher shelf.
The novel continually draws the reader in, and even as the plot pushes towards a predictable denouement, the storytelling on the way there is a thrilling journey." —Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★½
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