Sourcebooks January 2, 2021

People Magazine – Best Books – People’s Picks Summer 2021 

The Past, August 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by museum worker Vincent Peruggia. During its two-year absence from the Louvre, replicas of the painting are created and sold as the original by a notorious duo of con artists. Several of these forgeries remain at large, prompting more than one art historian to speculate that the museum might well be displaying a fake.

The Present: Artist and art professor Luke Perrone hunts for the truth behind his most infamous ancestor, Peruggia. His search attracts a reckless INTERPOL detective with something to prove, a beautiful woman who may want more than Luke’s affection, and a hornet’s nest of the most unscrupulous art collectors and thieves.

A gripping novel exploring the secrets of the 1911 theft and the dark underbelly of today’s art world, The Last Mona Lisa is a story of heart-stopping suspense as romantic and sexy as it is terrifying and thrilling, one that taps into our universal fascination with da Vinci, the authentic and the fake, and people so driven to acquire priceless works of art, they will stop at nothing to possess them—not even murder.

Praise & Reviews

“Oh, what a web Jonathan Santlofer weaves in this un-put-downable book! THE LAST MONA LISA brings together past and present, seasons it with intriguing characters, and brushes it with plot twists that you don’t see coming to create an unstoppable what-happens-next momentum. Santlofer has outdone himself this time.”
— Michael Connelly

“Fabulous—instantly immersive, intriguing and suspenseful, and expert and authentic too … only a writer who is also an artist—or an artist who is also a writer—could have pulled it off. This feels like the thriller Santlofer was born to write.”
— Lee Child

“A riveting novel, weaving the real-life 1911 theft of Leonardo’s masterpiece into a nail-biting contemporary drama where billionaire collectors, art historians, book collectors and Interpol engage in so many double and triple crosses you’re left wondering until the last page whom to trust and whom to fear. THE LAST MONA LISA is like a master class in how to create a deep understanding of art history while making a seamless thriller.”
— Sara Paretsky

“THE LAST MONA LISA is a pacy, seductive international thriller of the first order. With its seamless blend of action, intriguing maze of family secrets, and the gripping, emotional journal entries of a long-dead art thief, this is a transporting novel, made all the more captivating because of the true story at its heart. Don’t miss it!”
— Lisa Unger

“A deliciously tense read that mixes a present day hunt for the truth with a real-life historical heist to page-turning effect!”
— Ruth Ware

“From its seductive first pages, THE LAST MONA LISA carries us along on an utterly irresistible time-jumping, continent-leaping tale of intrigue and family secrets, obsession and the ineffable power of art itself. I could not put it down.”
— Megan Abbott

“It’s hard to imagine another writer who could pull off a feat like THE LAST MONA LISA, with its combination of thrills, history, and insider knowledge of the art world. A singular achievement by a terrific writer. Really stunning.”
— Laura Lippman

“Astonishingly, Jonathan Santlofer is a brilliant writer of fiction and nonfiction—and a superb visual artist as well. All his skills come together in THE LAST MONA LISA, and the result is wholly satisfying.”
— Lawrence Block

“This is a terrific read – compelling, intelligent, fascinating and deeply satisfying. It was a book I did not want to end.”
— Peter James

“The real-life theft of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa from the Louvre on Aug. 21, 1911, by workman Vincenzo Peruggia provides the backdrop for this outstanding caper from Nero Award winner Santlofer (Anatomy of Fear). Santlofer, himself an artist, should win more awards with this one. “
Publishers Weekly

“A layered and absorbing art mystery, complete with exciting action scenes and beautiful descriptions of the city of Florence and its art as well as Paris and Nice. It’s the human story at the heart of it, though, that really elevates the novel. Vincenzo’s motives for art theft are both pure and heart-rending, and Luke, flawed and struggling, seems to innately grasp what the person behind the recent violent deaths cannot: A work of art, no matter how precious, cannot be worth more than a human life.
A must for fans of Dan Brown.”
Kirkus Reviews ★ starred review

“A sleek and cunning book.”
The Brooklyn Rail

“Suspenseful, lush with Florence’s glorious art and architecture, sexy, and emotionally complex, Santlofer’s multifaceted tale of how a passion for art can turn criminal contrasts the genuine with the fake and asks if beauty and love can truly be transcendent.”
Booklist, ★ STARRED Review

“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.”

“As Luke [the protagonist] dives farther into his ancestor’s mind, we dive with him, hoping to exonerate the simple crook while admiring his bravado. We also take pause to consider complex questions about the value of art for the individual as well as for society.”… Whether he’s on the trail, failing in love, or trusting the wrong people, Luke takes us along on his journey. We may well be thankful that our own relatives have kept lower profiles. It’s also possible that we hope to find journals locked in our ancestral attics that help us understand our forbearers as much as they help us understand ourselves.”
New York Review Of Books

“Jonathan Santlofer’s new book is sheer delight. It’s filled with depictions of art, murder, art, romance, and art…It’s no surprise that the author is also an artist. His character’s knowledge of the topic is wide-ranging and enlightening, and the prose is written with an artist’s eye: “I imagined the stone in liquid form spilling forward like waves of lava, hardening and taking the shape of stairs, the movement trapped within.” The story is based on actual events. Vincent Peruggia did actually steal the Mona Lisa, and a con man and an art forger were likely connected with the case. The rest is fueled by the writer’s imagination as he takes readers on a wild ride, all the while introducing us to a world of fabulous art.”
Historical Novel Society

“Along with breathtaking plot twists and whiplash reversals, The Last Mona Lisa offers readers an additional layer of pleasure… Santlofer’s extensive knowledge of art history, criticism, and technique informs the book… Smart and savvy, The Last Mona Lisa is a top-notch demonstration of Santlofer’s craft.”
—The Journalist

“As the story switches between Luke’s increasingly bloody investigation and Vincent’s heart-wrenching story, Santlofer brings unique expertise to this vigorously detailed story … Suspenseful, lush with Florence’s glorious art and architecture, sexy, and emotionally complex, Santlofer’s multifaceted tale of how a passion for art can turn criminal contrasts the genuine with the fake and asks if beauty and love can truly be transcendent.

“A suspenseful, character-driven thriller.”

“Santlofer, an artist himself, knowledgeably guides the reader through the significant art treasures of Florence and Paris (where Perrone, oddly for an art historian, has never been), with plenty of action to goose the plot along lest the tone get too elevated. But his most striking achievement is capturing the divine and dangerous addiction that collecting art for art’s sake can become. Buyer and thief alike, beware.”
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