Isabella’s Painting: A Notorious Art Heist Mystery (Karina Cardinal Mystery Book 1) by Ellen Butler – Review by Jennifer Gordon

Isabella's Painting (Karina Cardinal Mystery #1)Isabella’s Painting by Ellen Butler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this original story, the first in a new series by Ellen Butler, the story introduces us to our heroine Karina Cardinal and is a wonderfully written novel based on a true event and which had me hooked from page one. “In 1990 a Boston museum was robbed of $500 million worth of artwork”, in this novel the author comes up with a storyline based on what could have happened to this stolen artwork. This was an exciting cozy crime mystery novel with a strong female lead in amateur sleuth Karina Cardinal. The storyline was fast paced and had plenty of drama, suspense and twists and turns that kept me guessing and happily turning the pages.
When Karina Cardinal ends a long week lobbying on Capitol Hill, instead of chilling out in front of Netflix, her and her boyfriend, Patrick Dunne head off to his parents’ annual holiday bash. The evening becomes more interesting and more dangerous when Karina sees something she shouldn’t in Patrick’s father, Martin Dunne’s study. The painting she glimpsed before it disappeared behind a secret panel looked suspiciously like one that had been stolen and is infamous, as anyone close to the painting has been murdered, Mafia style. As Karina wonders what to do an old flame and FBI agent Mike Finnegan comes back into her life and she’s tempted to tell her old friend everything, especially as she still has feelings for him. However, Karina is being watched and both her life and others are at risk if she continues to look into the stolen painting.
I was fully immersed in this crime, mystery, thriller and literally could not put the book down. I loved the main character, Karina, as she is a likeable and realistically independently minded women and I look forward to future books with her as the lead. I liked the aspects of romance in the story with both boyfriend Patrick and old flame Mike and how Karina’s relationships changed and developed with each one. I found this to be an original storyline and was gripped until the last page. I found the authors ‘afterward’ section fascinating as Butler tells the reader about the real event that this novel is based on. A five star read and a book which I definitely recommend, I have now discovered a new author who’s books will become ‘must reads’!

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