Tag Archives: caravaggio

Alex Connor The Caravaggio Conspiracy (review)

Alex Connor

Alex connor

Alex Connor is also known as Alexandra Connor and she has written a number of historical novels. This is her first crime thriller. She is an artist, and has worked in the art world for many years. Alex is also a motivational speaker and is regularly featured on television and BBC radio. She lives in Sussex.

The Caravaggio Conspiracy (2014)
A novel by Alex Connor


1608. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, the greatest Italian painter of his day, is expelled from the Order of the Knights of Malta. Subject to a clandestine hearing, his crime remains a closely guarded secret.

2014. Two bodies are found in a London art gallery – stripped naked, necks bound with wire and legs obscenely contorted. They are twin brothers – successful art dealers – their brutal murder linked to the mysterious disappearance of two paintings by the master Caravaggio.

Investigators are confounded, and it falls to art expert Gil Eckhart to identify the killer before he slays again. But as the search for clues takes him from the glamorous skyline of New York to the fetid catacombs of Palermo, Eckhart finds that in the high-stakes world of art, good and evil are often tarred with the same, blood-soaked, brush.


This book was a very pleasant surprise, far too often today thrillers are formulaic and predictable, the “bad guy” standing out by a country mile. Not the case in the clever well written interesting tale. The plot and the characters are extremely well written, very real and often very flawed, the true triumph of the book being Gil Eckhart, such a multi dimensional interesting lead character, but with a great supporting cast.

The back plot of Caravaggio provides an educational and illuminating setting both in the world of the art trade and also with the use of timeslip 1608 Europe.  I loved the idea of a long lost descendant suddenly appearing and throwing the art world into turmoil with the revelation that not one but two long lost master pieces could be about to resurface. The resulting appearance of an old Killer, many years silent is both disturbing and chilling, with some very cleverly derived murders.

The book sped by and entertained me immensely.I will be without doubt picking up the other books by this author, finding a good thriller writer is hard, finding a great one is nigh on impossible. (thanks Milo for this tip)

Highly recommended


Other Books by this author

The Rembrandt Secret (2011)
aka The Other Rembrandt
The Hogarth Conspiracy (2011)
aka Legacy of Blood
The Memory of Bones (2012)
Isle of the Dead (2013)
The Caravaggio Conspiracy (2014)

The Rembrandt SecretThe Hogarth ConspiracyThe Memory of BonesIsle of the DeadThe Caravaggio Conspiracy

Unearthing the Bones (2012)
Blood on the Water (2013)
The Forger, the Killer, the Painter and the Whore (2013)

Unearthing the BonesBlood on the WaterThe Forger, the Killer, the Painter and the Whore

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Filed under Alex Connor, Crime, Thrillers

Matt Rees: A name in Blood (Review)

The Author

M Rees

Matt Rees, (also known as Matt Beynon Rees, born in Newport, Wales) is a Welsh novelist and former journalist. He is the author of the Omar Yussef (character) series of mystery novels about a Palestinian sleuth and of historical crime novels. He is the winner of a Crime Writers Association Dagger for his crime fiction. He lives in Jerusalem.

Product Description

Buy the paperback

Italy, 1605: For the ruling Borgia family, Rome is a place of grand palazzos and frescoed cathedrals. For the lowly artist Caravaggio, it is a place of rough bars, knife fights, and grubby whores. Until he is commissioned to paint the Pope… Soon, Caravaggio has gained entry into the Borgia family’s inner circle, and becomes the most celebrated artist in Rome. But when he falls for Lena, a low-born fruit-seller, and paints her into his Madonna series as a simple peasant woman, Italian society is outraged. Discredited as an artist, but unwilling to retract his vision of the woman he loves, Caravaggio is forced into a duel – and murders a nobleman. Even his powerful patrons cannot protect him from a death sentence. So Caravaggio flees to Malta, where, before he can be pardoned, he must undergo the rigorous training of the Knights of Malta. His paintings continue to speak of his love for Lena. But before he can return to her, as a Knight and a noble, Caravaggio, the most famous artist in Italy – simply disappears…


I’m a voracious reader of historical fiction, but not much historical crime fiction, I steer away from crime drama’s where possible. But this one intrigued me, and im glad it did. The author appears to have a passion for the period and Caravaggio. The Borgia’s are topical right now with the TV series and its nice too read contrasting characters and settings.
The true victory of this book is the passion of the author, while the story is well told and tragic, its the writing that transports you to the 1600’s to experience the sights, sounds, smells and emotions of the people and time.
For those who might think this would be a plodding period piece, its not, its atmospheric, action packed and full of dramatic twists and turns. I soon forgot this was a crime drama, it became a deeply involved story that just transported me to a more artistic era of time, and a more dangerous time, when life was lived to the full.
Highly Recommended

Other Work

Omar Yussef
1. The Bethlehem Murders (2007)
aka The Collaborator of Bethlehem
2. The Saladin Murders (2008)
aka A Grave in Gaza
3. The Samaritan’s Secret (2009)
4. The Fourth Assassin (2010)
The Bethlehem MurdersThe Saladin MurdersThe Samaritan's SecretThe Fourth Assassin
Mozart’s Last Aria (2011)
A Name in Blood (2012)
Mozart's Last AriaA Name in Blood
Damascus Trance (2011)
The Sweetest Things (2012)
Lazarus’s Brush: a short story of Caravaggio in Sicily (2012)
The Man Who Went Out at Night (2012)
Damascus TranceThe Sweetest ThingsLazarus's Brush: a short story of Caravaggio in SicilyThe Man Who Went Out at Night
Non fiction series
Untold Mideast
The Dark Refuge: Israel’s Scandalous Neglect of its Mentally Ill Holocaust Survivors (2012)
Heroic Scum: How the PLO’s Old Campaigners Were Betrayed by Peace (2012)
Kissing the Dead: The Revenge of a Betrayed Hamas Leader(2012)
The Painter and the Prophet: Two Men Who Paid a Price for Loving the Land (2012)
The Dark Refuge: Israel's Scandalous Neglect of its Mentally Ill Holocaust SurvivorsHeroic Scum: How the PLO's Old Campaigners Were Betrayed by PeaceKissing the Dead: The Revenge of a Betrayed Hamas LeaderThe Painter and the Prophet: Two Men Who Paid a Price for Loving the Land
Non fiction
Cain’s Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle East (2008)
Matatya’s Cafe: The Israeli Musicians Who Brought East and West Together (2012)
Cain's Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle EastMatatya's Cafe: The Israeli Musicians Who Brought East and West Together

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Filed under Crime, Historical Fiction