cover image Woman on Fire

Woman on Fire

Lisa Barr. Harper, $16.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-304088-5

Ambitious fledgling reporter Jules Roth, the heroine of this masterly, multifaceted thriller from Barr (The Unbreakables), lands a job working for her personal hero, investigative journalist Dan Mansfield, who appreciates the young woman’s moxie. He invites her to join his small team, which is attempting to track down Woman on Fire, the last work of German Expressionist Ernst Engel, who was murdered in 1939. Dan is pursuing the painting on behalf of his good friend, famed shoe designer Ellis Baum, whose mother posed for the masterpiece. Young Ellis had seen the painting being taken from his home by a Nazi officer, and now, as he’s nearing death, longs for it to be returned to his family. Jules and the team aren’t the only ones lusting after the elusive picture, which is now worth millions. Ruthless Margaux de Laurent, considered the most important gallerist in the world, will stop at nothing to possess it. The action leaps between art capitals in the United States and Europe, intermingling the action-packed present day with thrilling episodes from the 1930s and 1940s that reveal Woman on Fire’s turbulent history. Barr’s vigorous prose complements her fully realized characters. Readers will be gripped from start to finish. Agent: Stephanie Abou, Massie & McQuilkin. (Mar.)