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Charlesgate Confidential

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  516 ratings  ·  112 reviews
An ingenious debut-novel unraveling the heist of the century, in 1946, 1986 and present-day Boston

A group of criminals in 1946 pull off the heist of the century, stealing a dozen priceless works of art from a Boston museum. But while the thieves get caught, the art is never found. Forty years later, the last surviving thief gets out of jail and goes hunting for the loo
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Kindle Edition
Published September 18th 2018 by Hard Case Crime
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Tim Bezant Funny to see this question here, King just tweeted about the book making me want to at least look into it. Too bad about the audio though, hopefully i…moreFunny to see this question here, King just tweeted about the book making me want to at least look into it. Too bad about the audio though, hopefully it will come soon now that he suggested it.(less)
Scott Hi - I'm looking into that possibility now. Hope to have something to report soon.…moreHi - I'm looking into that possibility now. Hope to have something to report soon.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  516 ratings  ·  112 reviews


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Kemper
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
If you’re looking for murder and mayhem in temporary lodgings then the Charlesgate should be mentioned along with the Overlook and Bates Motel.

The Charlesgate was once the swankiest hotel in Boston, but by 1946 it’s become a wretched hive of scum and villainy. After a poker night for gangsters gets robbed the guy running the game wants revenge. By 1986 the Charlesgate is student housing for a local college when one of the residents begins looking into the building’s history for a series of artic
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Dave
Pulp, Mystery, Legend, Spirits, & Baseball

Charlesgate Confidential is a tremendous modern-day pulp story that combines fact, fiction, legend, and baseball. Telling the story in three distinct time periods, it tells the story of the Charlesgate, which is probably as well known to many Boston residents as the Green Monster itself.

First built as a turn of the century gilded age upper crust hotel, it later deteriorated into a haven for prostitutes, card sharks, drug addicts, vagabonds, and ghosts.
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SuperWendy
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've seen authors go horribly awry with two dueling timelines, but Von Doviak ups the stakes with his debut novel by giving readers three (yes, THREE!) timelines: 1946, 1986 and 2014. Despite having to read about the Red Sox more than I'd like (Never. I'd like to read about the Red Sox NEVER!), the world-building is top notch and how the author intricately weaves all three timelines together to tell the story of an art heist gone wrong makes for great reading. A book that deserves some award rec ...more
Jennifer Hill
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a page-turner! I was so impressed with Von Doviak's snappy pacing and time swapping throughout the telling. The characters and dialogue are A+! It read like a movie within a movie within a movie. Cinematic writing, impeccable storytelling, interesting characters, a creepy building, twists and turns. It's got it all! When you read it, you're settling in to a literary experience with an entertaining punch. ...more
Eric
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Charlesgate Confidential is a novel spanning many decades and is told in alternating chapters involving three separate, but later tied together, groups of people.

The main theme of the novel involves the locating of a number of expensive paintings stolen during the opening era of the novel after the paintings had been hidden for safekeeping.

A background plot involves the pursuit of a World Series title by the Boston Red Sox through the years and serves as a common thread that ties the generatio
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Greg
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone. The kids aren't going to stay away: there are worse things on the internet anyway.
AROUND THE WORLD OF CRIME AND MYSTERY
North America, 2018
You're about to be stranded on a lost island (darn those three hour tours) and you can only pack one book per each of your favorite book genres. For your "Art Theft" genre, do you take "The Goldfinch" (won a Pulitzer and is 771 pages) or "Charlesgate Confidential" (no awards, half the length, 1/3rd the weight)?
CAST - 4 stars: Dave T and brothers Shane and Jake are three of many "bad guys", but then again the brothers might have you shedding
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Robert Intriago
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: action, 2019
A fun read with a lot of historical facts about Boston and the 1986 AL baseball’s series between Boston and L.A. including the error by Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series. The story is told in three different time periods and each chapter represents either 1947, 1986 or 2014. The plot involves a fictitious heist that took place in 1946 at the Isabelle Stewart museum (the same museum that was robbed in 1990). The setting for the event is the Charlesgate Hotel which through out its history has ...more
David Putnam
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Sorry didn't like this one. I really wanted to like it I loved the premise. There are three plot lines which is a dangerous undertaking for any author. Each time the author shifts to another plot line he risks dumping the reader out of the story which is what happened to me. I loved one plot line, thought another was okay, and third I didn't care for at all. So overall there wasn't enough to hold me in the story. Also, the voice seemed to be the same in all three.

David Putnam author of The Bruno
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Martin
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Definitely one of the better Hard Case titles I’ve read.
Donald
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Baseball and murder were both back in season, and everyone in Homicide had a full scorecard.”

This is a good read, told in three different time periods - 1946, 1986, and 2014. It's set in Boston, and there are a lot of references to places, and the Red Sox, in the town! You got stolen paintings, murders galore, and a mystery that takes some forty years to solve! The plot kept me guessing, and the three time lines were well written! My only complaint was the ending, ending. It was just a bit mund
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Mike
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is another rollicking good book under the Hard Case Crime label. I have liked nearly all of the books that I have read that have been sold under this label. They are not great pieces of literature, but they are definitely fun to read. This story has a rather complex format. It is told in three distinct time periods. Von Doviak does a great job. My own college career slightly predates the time period in this book, but the author's rendition is very accurate based on my own experiences.

I rec
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Jim Thomsen
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can’t tell you why I loved Scott Von Doviak’s CHARLESGATE CONFIDENTIAL, only that I did, that, as I posted on Twitter, each page was a greased pan of pure reading pleasure. I’ve read largely laudatory reviews that expertly broke down what makes the novel work, and I agree with them, but somehow I was unable to form the sentences that spelled out CHARLESGATE CONFIDENTIAL’s success with the mechanics of plot, structure, character, pacing and prose style.

The story cuts between stories set in 1946
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Merry
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star
A really intriguing fun read with an art heist as the basis for the many murders that ensue, all very expertly woven together in three different decades over a period of 70 years. The Charlesgate, once a swanky hotel, later turned into student housing after it had fallen into a terrible state of disrepair, then into expensive condominiums, is the primary setting throughout the story. Just an all-round good mystery. Definitely recommend!
Brandon
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, fiction, 2020, hardcase
Opening to glitz and glamour in the early 20th century, the Charlesgate Hotel was a crown jewel in the city of Boston. By 1946 however, it was home to some less than savory characters. When a card game featuring some of Boston’s most notorious criminals gets upended and looted, those responsible find themselves in the unenviable position of having to pay back the man they stole from. Years later, when the hotel had become a dormitory for Emerson College, one of the students working for the schoo ...more
Amy Osborne
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charlesgate Confidential is a wonderful, darkly funny and intriguing take on the Isabella Stewart Gardner art heist, told through three very specifically rendered time-frames. The multiple eras made for a compelling read and, being a 30-year Boston resident, it was especially juicy experiencing the town through the eyes of our protagonist, Tommy Donnelly in 1986. I felt like I was in long-defunct Pizza Pad, the Rat and other Boston haunts all over again. I also was drawn into the criminal underw ...more
Janet O'Keefe
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know it's a cliche, but this was incredibly hard to put down. I don't often read before bed, but I found myself staying up night after night to finish. I just had to know what happened to the paintings. ...more
John Roadman
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book it was really amazing. Just happened to see this in the new section at the library it was so good. Definlty 5 stars!!
Jr
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
fun, light read, especially the authors use of alternating time periods to tell the story.
Paul
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Charlesgate Confidential is a hard to put down page turner. The story told across three time periods is packed with all the good stuff: history, whodunit, treasure hunts, murder and baseball. Highly recommend this first novel from Mr. Von Doviak and even though the Socks don't win the 86 Series (again!) the well crafted writing, witty and realistic dialogue and a dorm full of interesting characters make you believe that anything is possible! ...more
Boris Feldman
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Outstanding Boston noir, with three linked stories over 70 years. 4.5, but rounding down as a protest against grade inflation.
Roger
Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Charlesgate Confidential is an incredibly clever book. Scott Van Doviak really tells three separate but intertwined stories from three different decades-he manages to keep all his plates in the air beautifully and he tells an entertaining story to boot. This novel was utterly good-a fun and earthy read. I sincerely admire how Doviak brought all the disparate moving parts of this book together and made everything work. Go find this book.
Brian
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended for anyone who enjoys page-turner mysteries. An engaging caper story with great dialog and characterization. Bonus points for creative use of the 1986 world series as a backdrop. I could imagine a really great movie being made from this.
Peter Nowakowski
this book was a real fun read...so entertaining ........... so good ........... like eating ice cream and candy
Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller
Whatever doubts I had about Scott Von Doviak’s wonderful debut novel disappeared within the first page or so. More often than not, one expects the indispensable Hard Case Crime imprint to feature books written several decades ago that either have never seen the light of day or were published in low print runs and written by masters of the hard-boiled detective craft under pseudonyms. CHARLESGATE CONFIDENTIAL is brand spanking new, but earns its place on the Hard Case Crime shelf --- make that "b ...more
Craig Childs
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In 1946, a small-time mobster's weekly poker game at the Charlesgate Hotel is robbed by a trio of brave but not-too-bright criminals, which sets off a chain of murderous events that culminates in a botched art heist dubbed the greatest crime in Boston history…

In 1986 a college journalism major, now living in Emerson University's Charlesgate dormitory , is researching the history of the building. He is looking for ghost stories, but he stumbles across new evidence of mob-related killings that wer
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Jennifer Woodward
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Just finished the book which I bought for the public library I work at on Cape Cod, where Boston-based mysteries with the '86 Sox season and a Gardna museum heist are a must-buy. My personal interest is I was in the Fenway/Back Bay area at the same time and age as this author and I also got to go back in personal time along with the characters in the book.

In short - the story is excellent, fast-moving, realistic and fun, despite the high body count. While it takes a bit to get into the 3 stories
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Tom
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a Holiday book swap gift from the Fidler clan and I really tore through it and loved it. It's a loosely historical noir riff on the Gardener art heist in Boston. The book takes place on three timelines 1946, 1986, and 2014 - three different eras of the Charlesgate Hotel in Boston. The characters across the timelines were all fun, but what I really loved was how the Charlesgate resonated as a Shoreland (my dorm at UChicago) type place. The 1986 timeline of this book occurred when the dil ...more
Patrick Hayes
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing fun book to read! I thought that I might lose track of the characters and/or plots since the book is told alternating between three different time periods, but that never happened, author Von Doviak has got a handle on every aspect of this book. This combines crime, mystery, romance, and baseball in the most deviously delightful story.

In 1946 a group of criminals plan the ultimate heist. In 1986 a college student is assigned to write on the background of the Charlesgate buil
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Stephen Lewis
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A book so nice I read it twice.

I knew Scott von Doviak's writing from some of his non-fiction books. I loved the one on the history of the Terminator movies and his book on movies based on Stephen King books. His non-fiction is informative with a easy flow and a surprising amount of humor.

This debut novel is awesome. It's noir; if you mind violence then this isn't for you. He interweaves 3 time lines artfully. I wasn't sure it would work but by keeping the chapters short (2 to 5 pages mostly) a
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Dave
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the Hell out of this book.
A entertaining mystery set in Boston, using a real life unsolved art theft for it's basis.
This story is set in 3 decades. 1946, 1986, and 2014. Each chapter is set in one of those years.
Other than one character in 1946 mentioning a 'Post game show' (a term I doubt existed in 1946) the writer catches the feel of the time frames well.
The book kept me interested and guessing till the end.
Worth a read!
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I am the author of three books on film and pop culture: Hick Flicks: The Rise and Fall of Redneck Cinema, If You Like The Terminator, and Stephen King Films FAQ. I have been a freelance writer for two decades, spending eight years as a film critic for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, followed by a stint as film critic for Nerve. I have been writing about television for The Onion's AV Club since 2010. ...more

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