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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. 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.

400 pages, Paperback

First published August 17, 2021

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About the author

Jonathan Santlofer

40 books244 followers
Jonathan Santlofer is the author of five novels and a highly respected artist whose work has been written about and reviewed in the New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, and Arts, and appears in many public, private, and corporate collections. He serves on the board of Yaddo, one of the oldest artist communities in the country. Santlofer lives and works in New York City.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 566 reviews
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,081 reviews620 followers
August 25, 2022
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.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,290 reviews1,331 followers
July 9, 2021
"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.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,184 reviews30.5k followers
September 16, 2021
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
Profile Image for Liz.
2,147 reviews2,767 followers
January 1, 2023
I picked this up because Michael Connelly was recommending it. And it definitely reminds me of his style - fast paced, with more emphasis on the story than the characters. Which isn’t to say the characters are flat, by any stretch. Santlofer is an artist, and his eye comes out in numerous ways. He has a real way with setting the locales. I could easily picture the scenes in both Florence and Paris. He also did a great job when describing the artworks that are part of the story.
The book is perfect for those that enjoy a mystery with a historical aspect. In 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. It was recovered two years later. Vincent Peruggia was found guilty of the theft after he attempted to sell it to the Uffizi Museum in Florence. That much is fact. Santlofer spins a tale that during those two years, an artist painted six fake Mona Lisas and sold them as the original. It even posits that the painting in the Louvre was possibly one of the fakes. The story is told from a variety of viewpoints, including Luke Perrone, the grandson of Peruggia, an interpol analyst and a woman that Luke begins a relationship with. We even hear from Vincent through a diary he supposedly kept. Oh, and there’s a bad guy stalking Luke. Everyone has something they’re hiding and no one is honest.
I recommend this for fans of Estelle Ryan’s Genevieve Lenard series.
I listened to this and was impressed by Edoardo Bellerini’s command of all the different accents.
Profile Image for Dana.
716 reviews9 followers
August 17, 2021
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!
Profile Image for 3 no 7.
746 reviews21 followers
September 8, 2021
“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.
Profile Image for Julia.
712 reviews
October 17, 2021
How this book has laudatory blurbs from Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman, and Ruth Ware is beyond me. The only thing I can think of is that they don't have the background I have (I am in academia and have a PhD in art history, I teach Italian Renaissance art and even an upper level course in art crime), and therefore they did not spot the glaring mistakes throughout this book.

In the first 11 pages, there are two major mistakes. From the beginning, Santlofer says that Vincenzo Peruggia stole the MONA LISA, the most famous painting in the world. But it wasn't the most famous painting in the world in 1911, the year it was stolen. It was by no means obscure, but it wasn't well known beyond art historians studying Italian Renaissance art. It was the theft of the painting that propelled the MONA LISA to cultural icon and the most famous painting in the world. At one point, he also obliquely seems to say that the MONA LISA is a painting on canvas. But it was actually painted on poplar wood.

Another glaring error that continually rubbed me the wrong way was the main character of Luke. He is an artist but is making ends meet by being an art history professor at a prestigious NYC university. Um, not a chance in hell. First, any university would not hire an MFA for an art history position. An artist does not have the correct terminal degree and would probably violate accreditation standards. Second, the job market is so small and competitive, there would be no reason to hire someone who doesn't actually specialize in the thing that they are supposed to teach. Santlofer goes on and on about how Luke has to have at least an exhibition or show of his own paintings if he wants to get tenure - but that is not what gets an art history professor tenure. Research and publications get you tenure. Another annoyance is Luke, who is an artist yet somehow also an expert in Italian Renaissance art, has never been to Florence or the Louvre. He is fascinated by his great-grandfather's theft of the MONA LISA, yet never has been to see it person. Luke also seems to know something about everything and teaches classes on multiple highly specialized topics like Artemisia Gentileschi and Caravaggio (both of whom are Baroque, not Renaissance artists). Yet he doesn't know that the Old Sacristy of San Lorenzo was designed by Brunelleschi. Finally, Luke calls himself an associate professor - but that is the title you get once you are tenured. So Luke would actually be an assistant professor. Why did the editors not have an academic art historian fact check all this???

Then there's the mystery and content here. This is a poorly and over written mess. Short chapters a la James Patterson. Missing transitions. Too many perspectives. So even if I could get over the mistakes he made, the mystery was not compelling and the characters were annoying.
Profile Image for Literary Redhead.
1,733 reviews517 followers
March 27, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Morgan .
875 reviews153 followers
February 3, 2022
August 1911 Leonardo’s Mona Lisa is stolen from The Louvre and is missing for two years- whereabouts unknown.

December 1913 former Louvre worker and frustrated artist Vincent Peruggia is arrested for the theft when he tries to sell the painting.

Present day: Enter art professor Luke Perrone from NYC who is the great grandson of Vincent and has been obsessed by Vincent for as long as he can remember. Having discovered that there may be a diary written by Vincent explaining how and why he stole the painting Luke takes off to Florence in search of the diary…which he finds.

The burning question then becomes: Is the Mona Lisa hanging in the Louvre a fake or the original.

From here on we are treated to a mystery with the added characters of an INTERPOL agent and a woman whose motives in getting close to Luke are suspect from the get-go.

The author of this book is a replication artist so the glaring bloopers that I (not an artist) found were unforgivable.

I give leeway as this is merely fiction based around a factual event and I found it entertaining enough to read to the end.

We may all pay homage to Vincent Peruggia who, having stolen the painting, made it into the most famous painting in the world.
Profile Image for Royce.
65 reviews56 followers
September 26, 2021
I’m a sucker for conspiracy thrillers especially if they're about art history. Back then, I remember watching a couple of docuseries about the infamous 1911 Mona Lisa heist, which made me doubt the authenticity of the masterpiece now on display at the Louvre Museum. Some speculated that it was a counterfeit that was switched at the time of the historic theft or it was probably already a counterfeit even before the robbery, implying that Vincenzo Peruggia stole one forgery and replaced it with another lol.

This is a great read. Suspenseful with action-packed scenes + lovely descriptions of Italy and Paris.
Profile Image for Zoe.
1,906 reviews201 followers
August 19, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Amanda Kingswell.
198 reviews3 followers
May 16, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Emilie.
454 reviews13 followers
September 12, 2021
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.
Profile Image for agata.
213 reviews9 followers
September 8, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Lauren Pierce.
151 reviews2 followers
August 12, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Heather Fineisen.
1,187 reviews113 followers
March 14, 2021
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
721 reviews7 followers
September 20, 2021
I had to work to finish this one.

The overall story was interesting; a heist story told from the perspective of the thief’s grandson. I enjoyed cruising around Florence and Paris with the characters.

Luke Perrone wasn’t a very believable character for me. He is an art history professor, but needs to be reminded about some of the great art works of Florence? The romantic interest felt contrived, and I never really believed in his relationships with Alex and Smith.
Profile Image for The Sassy Bookworm.
3,467 reviews2,361 followers
October 3, 2021
⭐⭐⭐⭐ -- Love the cover of this book.

I enjoyed this one a lot. Based on true events when the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911, it very much had a "Dan Brown" feel to it. And I am always down for any type of book that reminds me of The Da Vinci Code. Throw in art and art history and a bunch of intrigue and I am one happy reader. So yeah, this was an incredibly entertaining read and gets two thumbs up from yours truly.

**ARC Via NetGalley**
Profile Image for Tracy.
1,954 reviews40 followers
April 29, 2021
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?
Profile Image for Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller.
1,910 reviews33.8k followers
August 22, 2021
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
Profile Image for Debbie.
534 reviews
September 4, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Bianca | biancs.books.
58 reviews4 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
September 6, 2023
DNF op pagina 97.

Ik had ernaar uitgekeken en zin in een goede Dan Brown-achtige thriller, maar na bijna 100 pagina’s geef ik het op. De spanning en actie zijn tot op dit moment nog ver te zoeken. Het verhaal kabbelt een beetje en loopt niet lekker, wellicht mede te wijten aan het wisselen tussen de 1e en 3e persoon.
Het pakt me niet en ik voel geen enkele connectie met de personages.
Profile Image for Nanette.
334 reviews11 followers
September 12, 2023
I thoroughly enjoyed this fictionalized mystery of the theft of the Mona Lisa from the renowned Louvre Museum. This one had it all, suspense, murder, a possible love interest, with the past and present being a writing style that worked. I also enjoyed the art history subject matter which helped move it to a perfect ending, in my opinion. This one was a real page-turner, I will be searching for more from Mr. Santlofer.

July 11, 2022
This was a fun and quick read. I loved his take on the deeper backstory of the man who stole the famous Mona Lisa, and the others who were complicit. Going back and forth from the past to present also added to the excitement, and it wasn't hard to follow it. Yes, there were very, very typical/predictable parts of the book, but I enjoyed the ride. How can you go wrong when the story is set in Florence, Paris and NYC?
Profile Image for Jayne Scott.
150 reviews3 followers
May 1, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Noreen.
311 reviews53 followers
January 10, 2022
What a great read! Santlofer is a master storyteller and the story here is fascinating. Art forgery, a great protagonist, and such great settings—Florence, Paris!
Profile Image for Jenna.
1,837 reviews18 followers
May 21, 2023
--(michael connelly thru fantastic fict website)
I probably wouldn't have picked this up except it was recommended by Michael Connelly. I'm a huge fan of his and have read & liked other books he's recommended on various book websites.
This one was ok.
It's supposedly based on a true story of the real Mona Lisa being stolen & replaced with a copy.
who knows!
I do know that actual painting is smaller than you think & is behind a bullet proof case in the museum. Some yahoo decades ago shot it up w/a large gun. (you can see the bullet holes if you look closely)
I was interested in the story. Supposedly some gangster or rich Arab has the real one in a secret room. Again, who knows! Did the book convince me...eh...but it makes for a good story.
The protagonist (Luke) was the great-grandson of the thief (Vincent) and uses a journal to investigate. That added some believability to the story.
The mystery was good and it moves at a quick pace with lots of suspense & action.
Profile Image for Spectre.
298 reviews
August 29, 2023
Many years have passed since my Art Appreciation class and since I have spent little time in Art Galleries or Museums, I found the continuous references to famous artists and their works a little overwhelming. Jonathan Santlofer’s main characters - Luke Perrone, John Washington Smith, and Alexandra Greene were nicely developed and, in most cases, engaging and believable, as they pursued a MONA LISA mystery beginning with the actual 1911 theft of Leonardo da Vinci’s renowned masterpiece by an employee of the Louvre. Pacing and mystery were well intertwined as the author used first person points of view in real time and a personal journal as a voice from the past keeping the reader in suspense with a couple of twists at the end. This reading group selection has renewed my appreciation of art prompting a long delayed visit to the Chicago Art Institute since the Louvre is out of the question.
Profile Image for Amy Hagberg.
Author 10 books54 followers
July 8, 2023
Santlofer’s novel alternates between Luke’s increasingly dangerous investigation and Vincent’s poignant story. Himself an artist, the author lends credibility and authenticity to the story. The book includes gripping action sequences and vivid depictions of Florence, Paris, and Nice.

The premise for this book was fascinating; I did not know the Mona Lisa was stolen, but the plot felt contrived and lacked the smooth flow I look for. It reminded me of The da Vinci Code, and if you are a fan of Dan Brown’s work, you should check it out.

I alternated between the eBook and audio, and Edoardo Bellerini’s (a two-time Audie award winner) narration was spectacular. The Last Mona Lisa has plenty of things going for it, but I thought it was just okay. I give it five stars for the plot, but just three for execution.

** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions are my own.
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