Lawyer turned author Terrell employs her vast legal experience in this engrossing debut thriller, which focuses on art stolen by the Nazis during World War II. Using flashbacks, the author paints vivid pictures of 17th-century Holland, World War II-era Germany and present-day New York. The result is a compelling, fast-paced mystery filled with twists.

Manhattan attorney Mara Coyne represents Beazley's, a famed art auction house that's disputing a claim by Hilda Baum, who asserts that a painting called "The Chrysalis" belonged to her Dutch family during World War II and was wrongfully appropriated by the Nazis. Michael Roarke, Mara's contact at Beazley's, has documents proving that the auction house purchased the painting from a reputable seller.

Despite their opposing stances, Mara and Michael begin an affair that they must keep secret until the case is over. Then Mara accidentally stumbles upon Michael's personal e-mail and discovers that she may be a pawn in a dangerous game of art theft. (Ballantine, Jun., 240 pp., $21.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick