Norm Goldman's Reviews > Captcha Thief

Captcha Thief by Rosie Claverton
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it was amazing

In Captcha Thief Rosie Claverton offers up a multi-layered tale mixing together quite a brew that includes a theft of a renowned painting, a murdered victim with an intriguing personal life, blackmail, organ and human trafficking, an independent police consultant with super computer hacker skills suffering from agoraphobia and who has stolen millions of pounds from her parents and geocaching. In between there are a couple of close calls including a harrowing motorcycle crash, a high stake competition, and risky involvements with some shady characters.

And if you are wondering what is geocaching, as I was, Wikipedia describes it as “an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches,” anywhere in the world.”

The story unfolds in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff where a famous painting, The Blue Lady is stolen and a security guard murdered. Apparently, there was no break-in as the robber/killer used one of the staff's swipe cards that had been stolen from her car. To help solve the crime, police consultant Amy Lane and her loyal assistant friend Jason Carr, who is a former gang runner with prior convictions of assault and theft are called in to help Detective Inspector Bryn Hesketh and Detective Sergeant Owain Jenkins.

It should be pointed out that initially the detectives were not too keen on hiring Amy as a consultant and they only wanted to engage Jason who might help them with some of his old street contacts who would be interested in stolen art, however, Jason assures them that he was never involved in that kind of a gang and insisted that Amy be part of the investigation. The detectives acquiesce to Jason's request limiting, however, Amy's role to looking over the museum's closed-circuit television (CCTV) security monitoring system.

Upon examining the CCTV Amy discovers someone believed to be a man in a balaclava with a hammer knocking the security guard over the head and then removing the famous painting from its frame. Amy believes that they have an unshakable witness to this murder and yet they have no idea who did it. Moreover, they have the weapon, the motive and the opportunity to steal a painting worth at least forty million pounds and hundreds of collectors willing to pay at least that to possess her.

To most readers all of this seems quite obvious or is it really as clear cut as it seems? Soon we too are searching for answers as we come along for the ride to piece together the jigsaw puzzle. And to make the investigation even more complex, Frieda Haas of the National Crime Agency shows up and informs detectives Hesketh and Jenkins that she will be taking over the investigation due to the diplomatic significance of the painting, which doesn't go down too well with the detectives. As we are to discover, Haas lied when she said that she was assigned to the case. In addition she had been at the scene of the crime before it was even committed. What was she doing there and is she in any way connected to an investigation concerning Amy's theft of her parents money?

I have to applaud Claverton for her resourcefulness to deftly handle labyrinthine plot twists as it moves in four different directions involving conflicts between Jason and Amy, Jason and Frieda, Amy alone and the crime's perpetrator, as well as her innovative manner in weaving geocaching into the plot that threw me for quite a loop. In addition, Claverton understands that mystery stories should not be simple or clean as we don't want to read stories that are easily resolved. Consequently, to engage our desperate need to know, she has crafted a story that evolves, evades and leaves pieces out with unanswered questions, riddles and confusion trapping us in the moment and compelling us to read on by its incompleteness. I have to admit that when reading any mystery or for that matter any novel, I enjoy working and bringing part of myself to the table in filling in the blanks which is exactly what Claverton has accomplished with Captcha Thief.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Rosie Claverton


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Reading Progress

March 20, 2016 – Started Reading
March 24, 2016 – Finished Reading
April 1, 2016 – Shelved

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