The Van Gogh Deception

By Deron Hicks features a young boy who is discovered in Washington, DC’s National Gallery of Art without any recollection of who he is, he must piece together the disjointed clues of his origins while using his limited knowledge to stop one of the greatest art frauds ever attempted”–.

Gr 4–6—A nameless 12-year-old boy is found loitering in Washington’s National Gallery of Art, with dissociative amnesia, the  result of a trauma he can’t recall. It also seems that he is on the  run from a gang of covert criminal operatives led by a millionaire tech developer. Once he teams up with spunky redhead Camille, the  daughter of his temporary guardian, the  pieces start to fall into place. It turns out that the  boy is the  one person who can upend a scheme to sell a faked missing van Gogh  painting to the  gallery for $183 million. While trying to stay one step ahead of his pursuers, Art (the  name is written in his jacket) and Camille also race to find the  protagonist’s art historian father, who has been feared murdered. Much of the  narrative hinges on art history and forgery, as well as the  seizure of European masterworks by the  Nazis. Hicks integrates necessary details into the  contemporary narrative. The book  occasionally bogs down in meticulous descriptions of downtown DC geography, the  history of the  National Gallery, and seemingly endless chase scenes. While the  art theft plot and historical context are sound, the  idea that a group of successful international criminals could repeatedly be flummoxed by two plucky tweens reaches into absurdity. QR codes link to further information about paintings mentioned in the  text. VERDICT A workmanlike chase plot spiced up with some art history, this is an additional purchase for middle grade collections.—Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA –Bob Hassett (Reviewed 03/01/2017) (School Library Journal, vol 63, issue 03, p126)