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)