I hadn't heard of David Hosp before reading this novel. His website http://www.davidhosp.com/ states he is an American lawyer and this is his fourth novel. It is called Among Thieves and is a good mixture of drama, crime and thriller.
The plot is a complex one. In 1990, some valuable paintings were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston in the United States. The police investigation failed to find them and many felt they were lost forever. But soon the paintings and their whereabouts become relevant again, impacting on many people's lives...
Scott Finn is a Boston lawyer. When he is asked to defend petty thief Devon Malley, he expects it to be an ordinary case, but it turns out to be anything but. Finn ends up helping Devon's fourteen-year-old daughter Sally by letting her stay with him for a few days. His new responsibilities in loco parentis affect not only his lifestyle, but those of his two colleagues at the firm - former cop Tom Kozlowski and his girlfriend Lissa Krantz.
Meanwhile, we also meet two of Boston's current police force - Detective Paul Stone and his new partner Elorea Sanchez. Stone seems a hard-working guy and you sympathise with him, as Sanchez appears uncommunicative and awkward. But she has a great track record of solving crimes quickly and effectively, which means she is respected, if not widely liked.
On the other side of the law is Liam Kilbranish. The Prologue of Among Thieves explains how his family were executed in Belfast and this early tragedy fuels the anger and violence that is now part of his daily life as an adult, working for the IRA. He plans to recover the missing paintings to raise funds for the cause and he doesn't intend for anything or anyone to stand in his way of achieving his aims.
This thriller is well-written and holds your interest well, although some parts did slow the pace slightly. I found the plot intriguing but somewhat confusing, especially as there are at least eight main characters to follow. It occasionally took me a while to remember who they were and how they fitted into the wider context of events.
By the final third of the 369-page novel though, I was well into the story, understood who everyone was and was eager to find out how things were going to turn out. Hosp cleverly weaves all the characters together and it builds to an exciting climax, as you wonder how things are going to turn out and who is going to survive to the final page!
The plot is an interesting one (based on fact, as explained in the Acknowledgements afterwards), but the novel's real strength is in its characters. Each one is well-described and all of them seem well-rounded with their faults and good qualities both equally on display.
My favourite characters were those in the legal firm and I enjoyed the interplay between Finn, Lissa and Kozlowski. When young Sally Malley joins the mix, things become even more fascinating, as we see how their relationships change. Sally is a great character and as the mother of four teenagers myself, I found her to be very believable and recognisable.
Overall, it is well-paced, exciting, well-written and with excellent characterisation. While not the best book I have ever read, it was a very entertaining and involving legal thriller and I enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend Among Thieves to any fans of this genre and would be pleased to read more of David Hosp's novels in the future.
The hardback edition of Among Thieves by David Hosp is currently being sold on Amazon UK for £5.99.