Book Review: The Courbet Connection

Forged masterpieces. Kidnapped students. The dark net. Nonverbal communications expert Doctor Genevieve Lenard’s search for an international assassin is rudely interrupted by an autistic teenager who claims that forged masterpieces are being sold on the dark net–a secret internet few know exists. The resulting probe uncovers an underground marketplace offering much more sinister products and services. Including murder. An official investigation into one of her team members and the discovery of dozens of missing students across Europe adds immense pressure on Genevieve to find out if one person is masterminding these seemingly unrelated cases. What starts out as a search for illegal art sales soon turns into a desperate hunt for clues to uncover the conspiracy to destroy her team member and murder more students. Timing becomes even more crucial when someone close to her disappears and the assassin she’s been looking for is the key to preventing another senseless death.


Returning to the world of Genevieve, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into.  Even if it had been a rehash of one of the previous ideas, by now I trusted Estelle Ryan to provide a fresh, new look at it.  I should not have worried.

There are some elements that she has carried from book to book – if she hadn’t, then her writing would not fit into the genre of murder/mystery.  The addition of new twists and turns to the basic idea of “dead body, who did it?” were as exciting this time as they were in the first book.  There is an extra level of polish, which I believe comes from now having three books already under her belt.  Some of the descriptions were not as long, yet provided even more information.  This may not be noticeable if you have spaced the books out.  However, I have been on a reading binge – diving out of one book directly into the next.

I call these a series, however series may not be the proper term.  The central cast of characters remain the same, and the villains have a smooth hand off from one to the next when it occurs.  (I believe for this novel we are still facing the second one, so that may change.)  The personal issues each of the characters face also provides a sense of continuity, as if it were a series.  But, the stories encapsulated between the covers are definitely an episode, not part of an over arching plot.

There are a few new twists for this one, besides the expected, which sends the character development back into overdrive.

Along with the characters, this book also explores the darker side of civilization.  The one that is the worst kept secret, because everyone knows it exists, but very few know how to find it.  In this installment, Genevieve takes a step back, and her supporting cats gets a chance to shine on their own in a wonderfully delightful switch up.

When I hit the end of this book, the first two impressions I had were “Good, [old bad guy has done X]”, and “Wait, how many books left until the end?”  The first was a sense of relief – the initial villain was slightly over played, though his last hurrah was quite entertaining.  And, his end quite satisfactory.  The second was a sense of dread.  With another book adding another 5 out of 5 star installment to the list, I don’t want the series to end.  Ever.  And, there is only one more until I’m forced to wait on the next release.  I’m in trouble!


2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Courbet Connection

    1. She does great work. I’ve still got book 6 in the series to read – She’s working on 7, so I’m trying to stretch this one out. Also gives me time to try to get the reviews of what I’ve read recently written. Reading binges are bad for reviews…


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