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Reluctant Burglar
by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

Reviewed by C.J. Darlington

"A fresh, exciting, and fun novel."

Desiree Jacobs is an art thief. She steals rare and valuable paintings for a living—and then returns them. The daughter and protegee of security company guru Hiram Jacobs can do no less. Each successful heist, whether it be from a museum or a private collection, proves the need for the security their company can provide. Hiram has built an international business of loyal clients, and Desiree is fast following in his footsteps. Her father means everything to her. And her greatest goal is to emulate his skills, integrity, and faith.

But when her father is found murdered in his Rome hotel room, Desiree’s bubble bursts. Could her father really have been involved in a professional art theft ring? The FBI certainly things so, and now their sites are set on Desiree. Like father, like daughter. Surely they were in it together. How can she convince them of her innocence? And how can she right her father’s wrongs without the FBI knowing?

I was compelled to read Reluctant Burglar for its premise. What suspense fan wouldn’t salivate when art theft, museum security, FBI investigations, and murder all appear in the same novel? And the art aspects of the book really do steal the show. Not only does Nelson impart interesting facts from the art world, but she actually shows us some of the techniques Desiree uses to remove the paintings rather than glossing over the details.

Desiree Jacobs is a plucky heroine who reminds me of a grown up (and slightly more vulnerable) Nancy Drew. She’s independent and adventurous but still shows her human side when doubts surface. And her attraction to special agent Tony Lucano is something she can’t fight, as much as she might want to. Admittedly, there were a few times Tony’s attraction for his prime suspect strayed from what I would expect from a professional FBI agent, but this is what you’d expect in a romantic suspense novel.

There’s never a dull moment in Burglar (thriller readers applaud), but this is definitely a romantic suspense novel. If you’re a romance fan and have been looking to branch out, Burglar would be a great selection. Its violence is minimal and for the most part kept “off screen”, and there’s a nice mix of humorous banter with the more serious plot aspects.

A fresh, exciting, and fun novel, Reluctant Burglar will break into your life and steal your time and sleep. But that’s a good thing.

C.J. DarlingtonC.J. Darlington is the award-winning authof of Thicker than Blood, Bound by Guilt, and Ties that Bind. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a paint horse named Sky. Visit her online at her author website. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.