A Beautiful Crime: A Novel (Hardcover)

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From the author of The Destroyers comes another “delicious literary thriller” (People)—a twisty story of deception, set in contemporary Venice and featuring a young American couple who have set their sights on a high-stakes con.

When Nick Brink and his boyfriend Clay Guillory meet up on the Grand Canal in Venice, they have a plan in mind—and it doesn’t involve a vacation. Nick and Clay are running away from their turbulent lives in New York City, each desperate for a happier, freer future someplace else. Their method of escape? Selling a collection of counterfeit antiques to a brash, unsuspecting American living out his retirement years in a grand palazzo. With Clay’s smarts and Nick’s charm, their scheme is sure to succeed.

As it turns out, tricking a millionaire out of money isn’t as easy as it seems, especially when Clay and Nick let greed get the best of them. As Nick falls under the spell of the city’s decrepit magic, Clay comes to terms with personal loss and the price of letting go of the past. Their future awaits, but it is built on disastrous deceits, and more than one life stands in the way of their dreams.

A Beautiful Crime is a twisty grifter novel with a thriller running through its veins. But it is also a meditation on love, class, race, sexuality, and the legacy of bohemian culture. Tacking between Venice’s soaring aesthetic beauty and its imminent tourist-riddled collapse, Bollen delivers another “seductive and richly atmospheric literary thriller” (New York Times Book Review).

About the Author

Christopher Bollen is the author of Orient, which was an NPR Best Book of the Year, and the critically acclaimed Lightning People. He is the editor at large of Interview magazine. His work has appeared in GQ, the New York Times, New York magazine, and Artforum, among other publications. He lives in New York City.

Praise For…

“A smart, fast-paced, Highsmith-y novel full of con men, crumbling palazzos, and sentences so sharp they’ll cut you. It made me want to pack a bag and flee to Venice, while looking over my shoulder the whole way.”
— David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl

“Like Venice itself, A Beautiful Crime is full of twists and shadows and intrigue – an irresistible and stylish novel in which I found myself thrillingly lost. A master of suspense, Bollen seduces the reader not with tricks, but with beguiling, multi-layered main characters whose flaws are as compelling and relatable as their virtues. I loved every moment in their company.”
— Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men

“Extraordinary. A razor wrapped in silk, a cocktail spiked with poison — a novel both sophisticated and savage, inviting and dangerous. Death in Venice? You have no idea.”
— A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window

“Fans of Patricia Highsmith's subtly insidious mysteries will find dark delight in this caper by the talented Mr. Bollen.”
— Oprah.com

"André Aciman meets Patricia Highsmith in this satisfying exercise in literary crime… Fans of crime fiction will delight in this marriage of knowing aestheticism and old-fashioned mayhem.”
Kirkus, starred review

Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A thrilling story of passion and deception… Can two good people pull off a con full of deceit and fraud? It’s a question that persists all the way to the book’s end, maintaining an incessant, fearsome tension, like holding your breath underwater…. Like the city itself, A Beautiful Crime is worth losing yourself in.”
Chika Gujarathi, Bookpage, starred review

“First-rate entertainment.”
Library Journal

"Compelling... deftly paced and plotted with a beautifully realized setting that brings Venice to vivid life."

“Haunting, atmospheric, and enigmatic.”
— Crimereads

“Bollen's dark, delicious novel … tackles big questions about love and letting go, but never without skimping on style.”
Town & Country
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062853882
ISBN-10: 0062853880
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: January 28th, 2020
Pages: 400
Language: English