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The Last Mona Lisa

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August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more than one historian has wondered if the painting now in the Louvre is a fake, switched in 1911. Present day: art professor Luke Perrone digs for the truth behind his most famous ancestor: Peruggia. H August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more than one historian has wondered if the painting now in the Louvre is a fake, switched in 1911. Present day: art professor Luke Perrone digs for the truth behind his most famous ancestor: Peruggia. His search attracts an Interpol detective with something to prove and an unfamiliar but curiously helpful woman. Soon, Luke tumbles deep into the world of art and forgery, a land of obsession and danger. A gripping novel exploring the 1911 theft and the present underbelly of the art world, The Last Mona Lisa is a suspenseful tale, tapping into our universal fascination with da Vinci's enigma, why people are driven to possess certain works of art, and our fascination with the authentic and the fake.


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August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more than one historian has wondered if the painting now in the Louvre is a fake, switched in 1911. Present day: art professor Luke Perrone digs for the truth behind his most famous ancestor: Peruggia. H August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more than one historian has wondered if the painting now in the Louvre is a fake, switched in 1911. Present day: art professor Luke Perrone digs for the truth behind his most famous ancestor: Peruggia. His search attracts an Interpol detective with something to prove and an unfamiliar but curiously helpful woman. Soon, Luke tumbles deep into the world of art and forgery, a land of obsession and danger. A gripping novel exploring the 1911 theft and the present underbelly of the art world, The Last Mona Lisa is a suspenseful tale, tapping into our universal fascination with da Vinci's enigma, why people are driven to possess certain works of art, and our fascination with the authentic and the fake.

30 review for The Last Mona Lisa

  1. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    "Art is not what you see but what you make others see." (Degas) And what you behold from the hands and minds of the masters may not always be from the touch of their brush. Jonathan Santlofer peels back a corner on the mysteries surrounding the most famous portrait in the world.....The Mona Lisa. What eyes gaze upon in her residence in the Louvre in Paris may or may not be an imposter. The desire of authenticity by the experts has been tainted many times before. Who knows..... The Last Mona Lisa i "Art is not what you see but what you make others see." (Degas) And what you behold from the hands and minds of the masters may not always be from the touch of their brush. Jonathan Santlofer peels back a corner on the mysteries surrounding the most famous portrait in the world.....The Mona Lisa. What eyes gaze upon in her residence in the Louvre in Paris may or may not be an imposter. The desire of authenticity by the experts has been tainted many times before. Who knows..... The Last Mona Lisa is based on nuggets of a true crime committed in 1911 in Paris concerning our lovely Leonardo lady. Santlofer creates a breatheable crime scenario around our main character, Luke Perrone. Luke is an art history professor living in the Bowery in New York City. He receives an email concerning the journal of his grandfather found in Florence, Italy. Said grandfather was the infamous individual who stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. Vincent Peruggia worked as a handyman there and slipped out of the museum with La Gioconda rolled up undetected under his smock. His plan was to sell the painting. Jonathan Santlofer does an amazing job in bringing to life the motives of Peruggia. We find ourselves wrapped up in the unfortunate circumstances that surround the man. The connection to his grandson, Luke, is the spark of the story. Luke is determined to find the journal when he flies to Florence. His research in the Laurentian Library perks up the antennae of those who wish to find the journal before he does. We'll meet some shifty characters including a beautiful young woman who Luke meets in the library. Needless to say, his research will take a side step until he realizes that he may be in danger. Someone is stalking him..... I found The Last Mona Lisa to be a high stakes jaunt into the world of art forgery and art theft. Santlofer takes us on a panoramic view of the stunning churches and museums of Florence and Paris. The author lays the foundation with backstories of the past. What I found fascinating is Santlofer's ability to keep the fires burning while not revealing the stalkers quite yet or the motives of those involved. The Last Mona Lisa is a delectable bite for art lovers and a tasty morsel of intrigue for the mystery lovers as well. Will certainly be back for more from this talented author. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Sourcebooks and to Jonathan Santlofer for the opportunity.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Did you know the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911? It was missing for two years, and what happens to it during the time it was missing is a mystery. The thief is Vincent Peruggia. The story is told in both the past and the present, with an art professor relative of Peruggia as one of the narrators. I love that the author, Jonathan Santlofer, is an artist. It added to this story of one of the most famous paintings, and the true crime mystery surrounding it. I was fully immersed in this story and loved Did you know the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911? It was missing for two years, and what happens to it during the time it was missing is a mystery. The thief is Vincent Peruggia. The story is told in both the past and the present, with an art professor relative of Peruggia as one of the narrators. I love that the author, Jonathan Santlofer, is an artist. It added to this story of one of the most famous paintings, and the true crime mystery surrounding it. I was fully immersed in this story and loved visiting both the Paris and Florence settings. If you are looking for a page-turning historical mystery, check this one out. It reminded me just a touch of The Da Vinci Code! I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    Did you know that the Mona Lisa was once stolen? I didn’t. It happened in 1911 and though the painting later found its way back to the Louvre Museum there are some that believe the picture now in place to be something other than the Leonardo da Vinci original. A tall story? Perhaps, but here writer and artist Jonathan Santlofer weaves a tale, a mixture of fact and the meanderings of his own imagination, that seeks to explore what happened in the two year period the painting was missing. We meet L Did you know that the Mona Lisa was once stolen? I didn’t. It happened in 1911 and though the painting later found its way back to the Louvre Museum there are some that believe the picture now in place to be something other than the Leonardo da Vinci original. A tall story? Perhaps, but here writer and artist Jonathan Santlofer weaves a tale, a mixture of fact and the meanderings of his own imagination, that seeks to explore what happened in the two year period the painting was missing. We meet Luke Perrone the great grandson of the art thief who is hell bent on unearthing the true story of his ancestor’s life. He has a few clues and has received a communication which sends him off on a trip to Florence in search of a journal that might just provide the answers he seeks. As well as tracking Luke’s adventure we also become aware of an a man working for INTERPOL who is taking an active interest in Luke’s movements and an criminal art collector in New York who has a stash of stolen paintings in a hidden room in his house. In this mix of fact and fiction we learn how Vincent Perrugia stole the painting, meet some of the people he came into contact with and gain an understanding of why he may have committed such an act. Vincent’s story alternates with present day events to form a helter-skelter romp that never lets up. Luke, an art professor, is reminiscent of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon and though this tale is somewhat less frantic it does have something of the Davinci Code’s relentless motion about. It’s great fun and though it’s hard to take it all too seriously the background story of the original theft does add a soupçon of credibility to proceedings. It’s a nice mix: an old fashioned mystery and a modern thriller all in one package. A terrific book to fire up your imagination and to unwind to. My thanks to sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    I absolutely LOVED this book!! The fact that it's based on a true events had me completely hooked. I hadn't heard of this book until it landed on my doorstep. I am SO glad it did! If you have a love of historical fiction or mystery, chances are you're going to love this book. It's such a page turner! Exploring the underbelly of art and forgery was so fascinating. 5 stars from me!! Paris, 1911. The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia from the Louvre Museum. Present Day: Art professor Luke Perr I absolutely LOVED this book!! The fact that it's based on a true events had me completely hooked. I hadn't heard of this book until it landed on my doorstep. I am SO glad it did! If you have a love of historical fiction or mystery, chances are you're going to love this book. It's such a page turner! Exploring the underbelly of art and forgery was so fascinating. 5 stars from me!! Paris, 1911. The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia from the Louvre Museum. Present Day: Art professor Luke Perrone, an ancestor of Peruggia is searching for the truth. What he discovers is far more than he could have ever imagined. Huge thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for my gifted copy!!! The Last Mona Lisa hits shelves today!

  5. 5 out of 5

    3 no 7

    “The Last Mona Lisa” is based on the life of Vincent Peruggia who stole Leonardo’s Mona Lisa from The Louvre on August 21, 1911. I know the story; I have read numerous accounts, and I have watched documentary reenactments. I even have socks adorned with that famous face. What more could this book add to the legacy? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. What if The Mona Lisa which has been in The Louvre all these years is a fake? How can one be sure? The story unfolds in a first person narrative by “The Last Mona Lisa” is based on the life of Vincent Peruggia who stole Leonardo’s Mona Lisa from The Louvre on August 21, 1911. I know the story; I have read numerous accounts, and I have watched documentary reenactments. I even have socks adorned with that famous face. What more could this book add to the legacy? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. What if The Mona Lisa which has been in The Louvre all these years is a fake? How can one be sure? The story unfolds in a first person narrative by Luke Perrone, an artist and a teacher of art history. He is captivated by the most famous woman in the world: Lisa del Giocondo, the beautiful Mona Lisa, a four-hundred-year-old beauty who was abducted and returned more than once including one time by Perrone’s great-grandfather, Vincent Peruggia. The chapters alternate back and forth in time between the present and 1911. The narrative is full of feelings, expectations, goals, and motivations. The journey is told through journals written by Peruggia, historic academic research, Perrone’s personal investigations, and INTERPOL inquiries. The Mona Lisa’s adventures throughout the ages are documented including the many forgeries of her, some exposed and some hidden even from the most diligent examiners. “The Last Mona Lisa” is compelling, unpredictable, and absorbing, page after page as truth melts into fiction and returns to reality. The story is preposterous and yet so believable. Which is Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, and which ones are fakes? I received a review copy of “The Last Mona Lisa” from Jonathan Santlofer and Sourcebooks. The author himself makes replications of famous paintings for private collectors (that can always be identified as replications), and he has reproduced The Mona Lisa many times.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    Only a writer who is an artist — Jonathan Santlofer is both — could pen with such veracity this story of Mona Lisa’s theft from the Louvre in 1911. The thrilling tale elegantly spun explores the underbelly of art and forgery, compelling you to savor the pages even as you race to the end. Highly recommended for lovers of art, mysteries and stories well told. 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 17 Aug 2021 #TheLastMonaLisa #NetGalley Thanks to the author, Sourcebooks Landmark, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions Only a writer who is an artist — Jonathan Santlofer is both — could pen with such veracity this story of Mona Lisa’s theft from the Louvre in 1911. The thrilling tale elegantly spun explores the underbelly of art and forgery, compelling you to savor the pages even as you race to the end. Highly recommended for lovers of art, mysteries and stories well told. 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 17 Aug 2021 #TheLastMonaLisa #NetGalley Thanks to the author, Sourcebooks Landmark, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heather Fineisen

    The real theft of the Moa Lisa is imagined through the eyes of thief's grand son who is an art history professor. A journal is discovered that has pertinent information regarding the theft of the painting and subsequent forgeries. The quest for missing pages and copies of the painting introduces some different characters and a likely ending. Many art references and descriptions of Italy bring life to the story. Copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley The real theft of the Moa Lisa is imagined through the eyes of thief's grand son who is an art history professor. A journal is discovered that has pertinent information regarding the theft of the painting and subsequent forgeries. The quest for missing pages and copies of the painting introduces some different characters and a likely ending. Many art references and descriptions of Italy bring life to the story. Copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    Have to admit I kept looking for the creepy, having first read The Death Artist ;) This was an interesting portrayal of the events around the stealing of the Mona Lisa. I think all of us are more familiar than we were 20 years ago with Leonardo's work and possibly some of his history. I enjoyed the story. Side note: reading two books at once, went back to other to have my eyes fall on, "It's not like the theft of the Mona Lisa" (!?!) other book also involves art theft, and gives a quick overview Have to admit I kept looking for the creepy, having first read The Death Artist ;) This was an interesting portrayal of the events around the stealing of the Mona Lisa. I think all of us are more familiar than we were 20 years ago with Leonardo's work and possibly some of his history. I enjoyed the story. Side note: reading two books at once, went back to other to have my eyes fall on, "It's not like the theft of the Mona Lisa" (!?!) other book also involves art theft, and gives a quick overview of the Mona Lisa story! Small world or shivers down the spine?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Kingswell

    Characters didn’t draw me enough to want to continue with the book regardless the mystery. The synopsis is great but nothing kept me wanting to turn the pages.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    Living in Boston, site of the infamous Gardner Museum heist, I’ve long been fascinated by art heists, forgeries and other art-related crimes. Lucky for me that Jonathan Santlofer’s new novel, THE LAST MONA LISA, has all of the above, not to mention an evocative European setting that has me ready to book the next flight to Florence or Paris. Luke Perrone is an artist and art history professor, but he’s a little down on his luck. The New York City gallery where he shows most of his work is about t Living in Boston, site of the infamous Gardner Museum heist, I’ve long been fascinated by art heists, forgeries and other art-related crimes. Lucky for me that Jonathan Santlofer’s new novel, THE LAST MONA LISA, has all of the above, not to mention an evocative European setting that has me ready to book the next flight to Florence or Paris. Luke Perrone is an artist and art history professor, but he’s a little down on his luck. The New York City gallery where he shows most of his work is about to close, and his department chair tells him that he’s unlikely to get tenure without a major exhibition under his belt. As the novel opens, however, Luke is ready to leave all of those troubles behind, since he has just gotten a tip about his great obsession: his great-grandfather Vincent Peruggia’s journal. Luke’s relative was infamous in early 20th-century Paris; he was an artist and craftsman who served time for stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. Luke has always been fascinated by his long-dead relative, speculating about his motivations and whether or not, as some experts have suggested, the painting the Louvre eventually recovered --- the one that’s still hanging there to this day --- is actually a very skillful forgery. Tipped off that Vincent’s journal was among a recently deceased professor’s papers that have been donated to a library in Florence, Italy, Luke abandons his intersession teaching plans and hops on a plane. There he encounters his great-grandfather’s real and tragic story --- or at least most of it --- and draws the attention of Alex, a beautiful young woman with whom he feels an instant connection. Little does Luke know that his research has also drawn the attention of others, including a frustrated Interpol detective with a chip on his shoulder, not to mention members of the underground art world who would prefer that Vincent’s secrets remain buried --- and don’t care who they have to hurt to keep them that way. Even the smart, beautiful, compassionate Alex may be hiding something. Why does she run away from Luke whenever the two of them start to get close? Santlofer narrates his novel utilizing short, snappy chapters and a variety of perspectives. This includes passages from Peruggia’s journal, so that readers uncover his story at the same rate that Luke does. An accomplished artist himself, Santlofer includes vivid and detailed descriptions of the book's European settings, as well as the artworks that Luke and Alex discover and appreciate on their travels. I had heard about the 1911 Mona Lisa theft previously, but only through a children’s book. Here, as Santlofer acknowledges, he embellishes some of the historical record to make for a good story, but he also positions the heist in the context of a suspenseful, character-driven thriller. Readers might look a little closer at the Mona Lisa if they find themselves in Paris any time soon --- looking, just like Luke, for clues and mysteries even more tantalizing than the famous woman’s smile. Reviewed by Norah Piehl

  11. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    Rich, absorbing, and remarkably atmospheric! The Last Mona Lisa is an alluring, fascinating tale predominantly set in Paris during 1911, as well as present-day Florence, that takes us into the lives of Vincent Peruggia, a young man who, after losing his wife suddenly to illness, will do whatever it takes to earn enough money to be reunited with his son, as well as his great-grandson Luke Perrone, an art historian who is consumed with all things Mona Lisa who heads to Italy to find his great grand Rich, absorbing, and remarkably atmospheric! The Last Mona Lisa is an alluring, fascinating tale predominantly set in Paris during 1911, as well as present-day Florence, that takes us into the lives of Vincent Peruggia, a young man who, after losing his wife suddenly to illness, will do whatever it takes to earn enough money to be reunited with his son, as well as his great-grandson Luke Perrone, an art historian who is consumed with all things Mona Lisa who heads to Italy to find his great grandfather’s long-lost journal to discover once and for all why he stole the painting, where it was kept for the two years before it was returned, and ultimately, before everyone who knows about the journal, including himself, ends up dead, finally discover whether the original or merely a fake is now actually hanging in the infamous museum. The writing is polished and descriptive. The characters are flawed, vulnerable, and driven. And the plot, alternating between timelines, unravels and intertwines quickly into an ominous tale of life, loss, family, self-discovery, secrets, lies, deception, greed, friendship, heartbreak, addiction, obsession, murder, as well as the beautiful, intricate details involved in creating, forging, and restoring artwork. Overall, The Last Mona Lisa is an evocative, immersive, thrilling novel by Santlofer that’s not only a love letter to Renaissance art and the cities of Florence and Paris but a suspenseful tale steeped in historical fact and compelling fiction that I absolutely devoured and highly recommend. Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ghada

    Thanks NetGalley, SOURCEBOOKS LANDMARK and Jonathan Santlofer for an ARC to review. This book was on my wishlist and I am so lucky the publisher granted my wish. A fast paced page turner historic mystery that I almost finished in one sitting. Alternating between Paris 1911 during the Mona Lisa theft and Florence current time, the book hooks you between Vincent's heartbreaking thrilling journal and Luke's insane adventure between Florence and Paris chasing his great grandfather's footsteps. A rogu Thanks NetGalley, SOURCEBOOKS LANDMARK and Jonathan Santlofer for an ARC to review. This book was on my wishlist and I am so lucky the publisher granted my wish. A fast paced page turner historic mystery that I almost finished in one sitting. Alternating between Paris 1911 during the Mona Lisa theft and Florence current time, the book hooks you between Vincent's heartbreaking thrilling journal and Luke's insane adventure between Florence and Paris chasing his great grandfather's footsteps. A rogue Interpol agent, a mysterious blonde, a ruthless killer, the man beyond and the infamous lady the Mona Lisa. I absolutely loved it and will seek all the author's othet work.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Pierce

    DNF. Wow. The premise of this book sounded so good, and I was so excited to read it. I got 15 pages in and had to quit. The writing is awful. Way too descriptive. I like details, but I don’t need to know that a character keeps his white sneakers clean with a toothbrush. These details are a waste of time. The book is told in chapters alternating from different points of view. Most of the book is written in third person except for one character’s point of view is told in first person. Nope. I don’ DNF. Wow. The premise of this book sounded so good, and I was so excited to read it. I got 15 pages in and had to quit. The writing is awful. Way too descriptive. I like details, but I don’t need to know that a character keeps his white sneakers clean with a toothbrush. These details are a waste of time. The book is told in chapters alternating from different points of view. Most of the book is written in third person except for one character’s point of view is told in first person. Nope. I don’t like that. Pick either third or first person and stick with it for the whole book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emilie

    I received an ARC of this book. I am in the minority, but I did not like this book at all. I tried. I slogged through it. But it just seemed like a straight-to-home-video movie, instead of a summer-blockbuster mystery/action/thriller. The quest that the main character, Luke, goes on to try to discover just exactly what happened when his great-grandfather stole the Mona Lisa years and years ago just wasn't compelling enough to keep me interested. The characters were all two-dimensional and I felt n I received an ARC of this book. I am in the minority, but I did not like this book at all. I tried. I slogged through it. But it just seemed like a straight-to-home-video movie, instead of a summer-blockbuster mystery/action/thriller. The quest that the main character, Luke, goes on to try to discover just exactly what happened when his great-grandfather stole the Mona Lisa years and years ago just wasn't compelling enough to keep me interested. The characters were all two-dimensional and I felt no connection to them. Their motivations did not seem organic or realistic. The action scenes felt tacked-on. The chapters alternated points-of-view and narrators, and so switched from first person present-tense, to third person past-tense, to third person present-tense, and it felt jarring every time. My least favorite chapters were the ones narrated by Vincent. To me he came across as a self-absorbed, self-pitying, melodramatic guy who believed he was a great artist and should not be expected to take a "menial" job that would actually provide for his wife and unborn child. I had no patience with him. (For that matter, I didn't really like Luke, either. And don't get me started on Alex. Their insta-love was not at all believable.) I would not recommend this book. But I know a lot of people have really enjoyed it. So what can I say? Maybe you'll love it, and maybe you won't. I certainly didn't.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jayne Scott

    Fabulous! I loved this book. It led me through the streets of Paris, viewing the stunning architecture, galleries and restaurants in Florence ( definitely inspired me to plan a return visit to sample again with a refreshed insight!). Who can beat such a well written mystery; history woven with suspense and romance driven by vivid characters? Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark Publishing for pre-sale review copy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    What a thoroughly engaging mystery. Fake copy or original? Friend or foe? Who's to be trusted? Who knows what? And, most importantly, who is trying to kill Luke Perrone? What a great page-turner, based on fact, with the best question of all saved for the end. One of several art-themed novels by this author - I will put them all on my TBR list. I read this EARC courtesy of Edelweiss and Sourcebooks. pub date 08/17/21 What a thoroughly engaging mystery. Fake copy or original? Friend or foe? Who's to be trusted? Who knows what? And, most importantly, who is trying to kill Luke Perrone? What a great page-turner, based on fact, with the best question of all saved for the end. One of several art-themed novels by this author - I will put them all on my TBR list. I read this EARC courtesy of Edelweiss and Sourcebooks. pub date 08/17/21

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    My Review Of THE LAST MONA LISA By Author & Artist Jonathan Santlofer Published & Gifted by #Partner @Bookmarked On Sale: 8/17/21 *Exclusive Pre-Order offer: Pre-Order from Retailer of your choice and submit Receipt to the Link in my Bio to receive a Postcard Set featuring replicas of famous art, as painted by the Author, Jonathan Santlofer. (See Postcard Set in my Picture) ****** This book reawakened the inner art lover in me. I haven’t been to Art Institute in Chicago in decades and now I’m yearnin My Review Of THE LAST MONA LISA By Author & Artist Jonathan Santlofer Published & Gifted by #Partner @Bookmarked On Sale: 8/17/21 *Exclusive Pre-Order offer: Pre-Order from Retailer of your choice and submit Receipt to the Link in my Bio to receive a Postcard Set featuring replicas of famous art, as painted by the Author, Jonathan Santlofer. (See Postcard Set in my Picture) ****** This book reawakened the inner art lover in me. I haven’t been to Art Institute in Chicago in decades and now I’m yearning to know more; see more. The story behind THE LAST MONA LISA is based on the the true story and theft of The Mona Lisa. It is a painting I know well as I grew up with a replica of one. I used to lay on the carpet and stare up at it in my father’s study and make up stories about the beloved Mona Lisa. Other than this, I knew nothing about the real history and the chilling story of the peoples lives that were affected by this elusive piece of art. How it became one of the most talked about and famous paintings in the world. How a man’s dying wife led to its disappearance and this began its descent into the dark and dangerous world of the black market and art collectors that are willing to pay any price to own pieces and the art dealers willing to steal & kill to get the most exquisite pieces for their clients. All in the name of money, the art theft ring is a dangerous group that is spread worldwide and even having the slightest knowledge could get you killed. The Author creates a book that makes you ponder and the description of the art gives you such a deep appreciation for art and the artists who poured their heart into their work. The climatic moment begins when the Mona Lisa is stolen and it torments you as read each page. You read fast and furiously but it’s not fast enough, I was so hypnotized and captivated at the pursuit of the real Mona Lisa, biting my nails at the dangerous journey and people and transfixed at sleuthing to get to the answer myself. This was not what I expected…it was 100x better and I don’t care what genre you read; step out of your comfort zone and read this one please!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stacy DeBroff

    Come for the heist of the Mona Lisa, with its unexpected twists and turns based on real world thievery of Leonardo’s masterpiece and stay for the in-depth look at the insidious world of high rollers engaged in building private art collections of stolen Masters. In August 1911, Louvre art framer Vincenzo Peruggia stole the Mona Lisa, dropping its frame and glass case on the staircase. It would be recovered in 1913, Vincent would go to jail for the theft, but what ensued become endless scholarly d Come for the heist of the Mona Lisa, with its unexpected twists and turns based on real world thievery of Leonardo’s masterpiece and stay for the in-depth look at the insidious world of high rollers engaged in building private art collections of stolen Masters. In August 1911, Louvre art framer Vincenzo Peruggia stole the Mona Lisa, dropping its frame and glass case on the staircase. It would be recovered in 1913, Vincent would go to jail for the theft, but what ensued become endless scholarly debate as to whether the Mona Lisa had been replaced by a highly skilled forgery. The novel kicks on in 2019 with Luke Perrone, a painter and university professor vying, who’s the great grandson of Peruggia. Luke’s struggling to make tenure, get an exhibition of his artwork, and in the meantime churning through unfulfilling relationships with women. He also has been obsessed with finding out more about his great grandfather and figuring out if the stolen Mona Lisa had been replaced by a forgery. An unexpected lead to Vincent’s journal has Luke dashing off to the Laurentian library in Florence, Italy. Dead bodies start to pile up in connection with the journal - from book dealers who handled it to an innocent Franciscan monk. Luke finds himself surrounded by John Smith, an on-the-outs Interpol investigator from their art theft division stalking Luke to see what he finds; gorgeous Alexandra Greene with whom Luke gets romantically entangled but is harboring a secret; a Russian hit man who’s been hired by a powerful private art collector who has a Mona Lisa and wants to know if it’s real. Meanwhile, Vincent’s story unfolds in parallel to Luke’s, as we read his journal entries and the past comes alive with vibrant characters, a powerful love story, a broker of stolen artwork and a brilliant forger. It’s a powerful and mesmerizing story, unfolding unexpectedly until the story rises to its thrilling crescendo. Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reader’s copy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    agata

    Luke Perrone is an art professor living and working in New York City. He is also the grandson of a man who in 1911 stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre and when he receives an email about his grandfather’s journal turning up, he immediately takes off to Italy, where he tries to piece together the story of the theft that shocked the world. But what Perrone doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one interested in the journal and as people around him start disappearing in mysterious circumstances, h Luke Perrone is an art professor living and working in New York City. He is also the grandson of a man who in 1911 stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre and when he receives an email about his grandfather’s journal turning up, he immediately takes off to Italy, where he tries to piece together the story of the theft that shocked the world. But what Perrone doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one interested in the journal and as people around him start disappearing in mysterious circumstances, he realizes that his search could put him in grave danger. Sadly, this book ended up really disappointing. Based on the premise alone, I was expecting something of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code caliber; a not very sophisticated yet entertaining thriller with more fiction than truth. Unfortunately, the entertainment part was lacking here. The story was muddled by many points of view and tenses, the characters were flat and poorly developed, and the plot twists were predictable. The love story between Luke and the woman he just met was hard to take seriously, especially when it’s pretty much spelled out who the bad guys are and you can tell from the start that she has a “dark secret”. I went back and forth between giving this book 2 or 3 stars, but the stiff and strangely shallow style of writing made me go with the lower rating. To me, this book suffered from a “tell, don’t show” syndrome and even though most of the story is told from Luke’s point of view, I felt like I only had a superficial insight into his thoughts. What I liked the most about The Last Mona Lisa was the art talk. You can tell the author knows a lot about art, architecture and history (even if the book isn’t 100% factual), and some parts made me miss traveling and being able to visit museums and art galleries.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This is a decent art history mystery/thriller, based on the real-life theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre by Italian immigrant Vincenzo Peruggia in 1911. The story follows Luke Perrone, an art history professor and the great-grandson of Peruggia, on his visit to Florence to read the journal of his ancestor. With the help of an ambitious Interpol agent and a beautiful, mysterious American woman, Luke tries to determine 1): why Peruggia stole the painting; 2): if the painting that was returned t This is a decent art history mystery/thriller, based on the real-life theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre by Italian immigrant Vincenzo Peruggia in 1911. The story follows Luke Perrone, an art history professor and the great-grandson of Peruggia, on his visit to Florence to read the journal of his ancestor. With the help of an ambitious Interpol agent and a beautiful, mysterious American woman, Luke tries to determine 1): why Peruggia stole the painting; 2): if the painting that was returned to the Louvre in 1913 is actually a forgery; and 3): why everyone who has dealt with the journal is dropping dead. The book takes some liberties with some of the known facts of Peruggia’s life, especially when it links him to con man Eduardo de Valfierno and art forger Yves Chaudron. These two men supposedly masterminded the theft so they could profit from selling forgeries of the Mona Lisa as the missing original. The only problem with this theory is that these two men may never have existed. The only evidence for this plot was a 1932 Saturday Evening Post article written by a former Hearst journalist named Karl Decker, who was known for fabricating stories. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter after all since this is fiction, where we’re allowed to wonder “what if.” 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 for good renderings of the flawed yet vulnerable characters; beautiful descriptions of the art works and scenery of Florence and Paris; and a return to one of the art world’s greatest mysteries.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Pros: The cover of this book caught my attention immediately, and I knew I wanted to read it as soon as I read the description because “books about art” is one of my favorite genres. This book contains so many of my favorite things: a book about art (the Mona Lisa! Caravaggio’s Medusa!), a main character who is an art history professor, researching in an old library, a secret journal, conspiracy theories, art theft and forgery, European settings, museums (The Louvre! The Uffizi!), etc. The book’s Pros: The cover of this book caught my attention immediately, and I knew I wanted to read it as soon as I read the description because “books about art” is one of my favorite genres. This book contains so many of my favorite things: a book about art (the Mona Lisa! Caravaggio’s Medusa!), a main character who is an art history professor, researching in an old library, a secret journal, conspiracy theories, art theft and forgery, European settings, museums (The Louvre! The Uffizi!), etc. The book’s short chapters kept the plot moving quickly. However, this book took me longer to read because I kept setting it aside to google places and pieces of art. I also wanted to know more about the real theft of the Mona Lisa that this story is based on and how Picasso was involved. I’m also fascinated by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist and loved the mention of it in this book. Cons: This book was at a disadvantage because the set up contains so many of the things I want in a book, which leads me to go in with really high expectations. Although I liked this book, I liked the set up and the history more than the story. I think it’s a case of truth being stranger than fiction. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the opportunity to read this book. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I thoroughly enjoyed this pacey intellectual mystery. I wouldn’t call it a thriller in any sense but the pace does pick up as the story begins to resolve. Reviews for this book vary wildly and I agree with parts of most of them. On the plus side this story is based on the historical theft of the original Mona Lisa from the Louvre. On the negative side most of the relationships in the book seemed rushed and unrealistic. I still enjoyed the efforts the main character, Luke Perrone, went through to I thoroughly enjoyed this pacey intellectual mystery. I wouldn’t call it a thriller in any sense but the pace does pick up as the story begins to resolve. Reviews for this book vary wildly and I agree with parts of most of them. On the plus side this story is based on the historical theft of the original Mona Lisa from the Louvre. On the negative side most of the relationships in the book seemed rushed and unrealistic. I still enjoyed the efforts the main character, Luke Perrone, went through to trace the history that came to him from his great grandfather. There are plenty of dark actors of unknown affiliation and lots of art talk. I had previously only a passing knowledge of this art heist so I was happy to learn more about the incident which the author has reproduced as factually as possible. This book reminded me a lot of another story of art forgery, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith. Different setting, different art but again much factual information about forgeries and their relevance in the art world. I’ll be looking for more of Sanlofer’s work since this is the first of his titles I’ve read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Randal White

    Florence, Paris, Da Vinci, and a good mystery. Some of my favorite things. What more could I ask for? Santlofer has penned a good book here. Relying on historical facts, with a good amount of imagination thrown in, the book is a good read. Action packed, full of twists and turns. To the reviewers who are complaining about this book being a rip-off of Dan Brown, get over yourselves! Brown wrote some good books in this genre, but he wasn't the first, and won't be the last. There's more than enough Florence, Paris, Da Vinci, and a good mystery. Some of my favorite things. What more could I ask for? Santlofer has penned a good book here. Relying on historical facts, with a good amount of imagination thrown in, the book is a good read. Action packed, full of twists and turns. To the reviewers who are complaining about this book being a rip-off of Dan Brown, get over yourselves! Brown wrote some good books in this genre, but he wasn't the first, and won't be the last. There's more than enough subject matter out there to continue in this mold, and Santlofer does a great job at it. The one thing that I wish had been different, and stops me from awarding a five star review, was the author's tendency to write many, many really short chapters, and start a new one without identifying who he was talking about. Sometimes the main character, many times one of the many other characters, it took a bit to figure out who was talking. It made it confusing, at least to me. All in all, a really good book. I look forward to reading more from this author.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rena

    An entertaining mash-up of art history and a thriller. Based loosely on the fact that in 1911 the Mona Lisa disappeared from the Louvre Museum for 2 years, the author imagines not only the circumstances of the disappearance, but also its repercussions today. Short chapters with a direct writing style easily propulse the plot and reader forward. I particularly enjoyed the walking tour of Florence--encountering a variety of neighborhoods, museums, and a research library; happening upon great works An entertaining mash-up of art history and a thriller. Based loosely on the fact that in 1911 the Mona Lisa disappeared from the Louvre Museum for 2 years, the author imagines not only the circumstances of the disappearance, but also its repercussions today. Short chapters with a direct writing style easily propulse the plot and reader forward. I particularly enjoyed the walking tour of Florence--encountering a variety of neighborhoods, museums, and a research library; happening upon great works of art; and the romance of the ordinary in a great city. The last half of the book is all thriller, but comes to a satisfactory conclusion for the art historical as well. It's worth a read for the ambiance of art that infuses the sensibility of the whole, and you might just learn a thing or two, too. Fun! Thank you for SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    I normally don't read reviews when I write one of my own. But I did happen to see a slew of 5 star reviews and I barely was able to give it 2 stars. I loved the history of the story, how the Mona Lisa was actually stolen from the Louvre in 1911. But as soon as it went back to the present and the art thief's great grandson tries to find out more about his ancestor's life through a journal that has been found...it just got boring for me. I didn't feel anything for any of the characters, something I normally don't read reviews when I write one of my own. But I did happen to see a slew of 5 star reviews and I barely was able to give it 2 stars. I loved the history of the story, how the Mona Lisa was actually stolen from the Louvre in 1911. But as soon as it went back to the present and the art thief's great grandson tries to find out more about his ancestor's life through a journal that has been found...it just got boring for me. I didn't feel anything for any of the characters, something that I rely on the author to bring them to life. The story of Luke Perrone following clues to the real Mona Lisa and the fakes that are around just wasn't exciting for me. I love reading books like this that contain real history and providing a possible 'truth' to what actually happened. But I am just not buying this one.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Scott Wilson

    3.5 The Last Mona Lisa feels like a Davinci Code for art history. A professor trying to find out once and for all if the Mona Lisa was stolen and replaced by a forgery as some believe travels to Europe to find his great grandfathers journal which he believes will prove that his relative was behind the theft and forgery. The story has all the expected pieces with good guys, bad guys, romance and action but it just didn't really work for me. The relationship felt forced. I enjoyed some of the art 3.5 The Last Mona Lisa feels like a Davinci Code for art history. A professor trying to find out once and for all if the Mona Lisa was stolen and replaced by a forgery as some believe travels to Europe to find his great grandfathers journal which he believes will prove that his relative was behind the theft and forgery. The story has all the expected pieces with good guys, bad guys, romance and action but it just didn't really work for me. The relationship felt forced. I enjoyed some of the art history woven into the story but I never cared that much for the protagonist so it was hard to care much for the story.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Kennedy

    Luke Perrone, grandson of the art thief Perrugia, searches for the journal of this man to find answers to questions that plague him. Alex, employed by a collector, follows him through Florence also on a quest for information and finds herself falling for this art history professor. Smith, an Interpol agent, defying procedure, joins him in the quest that proceeds on a deadly curve. All are tracked by a Russian thug who seems to incur pain wherever he goes. One by one, innocent and not so innocent Luke Perrone, grandson of the art thief Perrugia, searches for the journal of this man to find answers to questions that plague him. Alex, employed by a collector, follows him through Florence also on a quest for information and finds herself falling for this art history professor. Smith, an Interpol agent, defying procedure, joins him in the quest that proceeds on a deadly curve. All are tracked by a Russian thug who seems to incur pain wherever he goes. One by one, innocent and not so innocent contacts are murdered. Why? Are they all that invested in discovering the authenticity of DaVinci’s Mona Lisa housed in the Louvre? Or is there more to this century-old journal? Jonathan Santlofer’s familiar territory is the art world and once again he shares his expertise with his readers. In addition, he has perfected a skill in producing a fast-paced thriller that keeps the pages turning rapidly toward a resolution. As always I look forward to his next work!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Zemeckis

    Fantastic - starts with a brutal murder - artist Luke is searching for the answers to his great grandfathers heist of the Mona Lisa - a whole lot of real people and fiction makes this page turner - an Interpol Researcher and everyone who want to be someone …

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Well written. Easy to read. Good character development and a suspenseful story. Makes you wonder what you look at in art museums. I would recommend this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    tpixie

    A mystery with the flavor of The Da Vinci Code. Loved learning about Italian art, artists, & architecture

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