Book Review: The Dali Deception (A Kilchester Caper Book 1), by Adam Maxwell

Publication date: 20th June 2016

Dali Deception My Review

The Dali Deception by Adam MaxwellPlanning a heist comes naturally to Violet Winters. She can be intimidating, manipulative and even the joker when she wants to be, but more importantly she can pick the most complicated lock at fifty paces. And besides, it’s in her blood.

Assembling a team of equally formidable masterminds with variable talents in a matter of weeks should be a piece of cake to someone with her family background expertise, as the next job will require specific hand-picked skills to carry out ‘The Dali Deception’. Plus, there’s the added bonus of wreaking havoc on her ex as payback for the last project which didn’t go quite as planned.

The elaborately hatched plan starts with a countdown to the date of The Dali Deception starting with how she recruits her elite squad and deals with their eccentricities. The introductions start one by one until the fully fledged members of the team include the bizarre choice of a twenty two year old computer hacker who resembles a twelve year old school girl, the muscle in the form of a mute female Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barry is the cocky logistics expert (he can find you any vehicle you desire quicker than Autotrader), and there’s a serial opportunist whose pretend secretary begrudges him drawing breath (the teabag being fished from bin scene is cracking).

But even these flashes of genius need a helping hand, as spanners are frequently thrown into the works and spontaneous solutions are required to keep them off the radar. The last thing Violet wants is to draw unnecessary attention to her team while they attempt to whip a most unusual ‘work of art’ by Salvador Dali from under the nose of its keeper.

During their quest they meet a vertically challenged foul-mouthed gangster, or Big Terry as he’s known. He has plenty of support from his hired security, but he still prefers to do most of the dirty work himself – he’s a nasty character who’s used to getting exactly what he wants and enjoys making people pay for disappointing him, especially if they have the audacity to refer to his small stature.

Every member of the team establishes themselves (and their quirks) quickly, and the camaraderie in Violet’s criminal fraternity is just superb. Seeing their bonds develop as the plot gains momentum is absolutely priceless, just like the peculiar blank canvas they have been commissioned to ‘acquire’.

Katie is by far my favourite player. The subtleties of her body language when Violet ‘discusses’ things with her, or rather Violet talks and Katie shows approval or disapproval, gives her the strongest presence and yet she never utters a word throughout!

The Dali Deception is inventive and sparky. Constantly evolving, this quick-fire organised crime caper bounds along – I devoured it during the course of an afternoon when I’d only stepped in for a couple of chapters! 

I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of these talented odd bods, as somehow they don’t seem the type to retire quietly from this honourable thievery lark…

Rating:  4/5

(I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, with my thanks.)

Dali Deception - Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Five criminals. Two forgeries. And one masterpiece of a heist.

Violet Winters—a professional thief born of a good, honest thief-and-con-artist stock— has been offered the heist of a lifetime. Steal a priceless Salvador Dali from the security-obsessed chairman of the Kilchester Bank and replace it with a forgery.

The fact that the “painting” is a signed, blank canvas doesn’t matter. It’s the challenge that gives Violet that familiar, addicting rush of adrenaline. Her quarry rests in a converted underground Cold War bunker. One way in, one way out. No margin for error.

But the reason Violet fled Kilchester is waiting right where she left him—an ex-lover with a murderous method for dumping a girlfriend. If her heist is to be a success, there will have to be a reckoning, or everything could go spinning out of control.

Her team of talented misfits assembled, Violet sets out to re-stake her claim on her reputation, exorcise some demons, and claim the prize. That is, if her masterpiece of a plan isn’t derailed by a pissed-off crime boss—or betrayal from within her own ranks.

“Adam Maxwell is the indie writing scene’s sharpest wit, and the Dali Deception is his slickest, funniest – and surrealist – caper yet.”  Damien Walter, Columnist for The Guardian.


Dali Deception Author Profile

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Adam Maxwell has written for a plethora of publications including Dave Eggers’ McSweeney’s. His first book, a collection of short stories and flash fiction for adults ‘Dial M For Monkey’ was published in 2006. Most recently he has been working on a series of stories and novellas about a narcoleptic detective called ‘The Defective Detective’ and has branched out into children’s fiction with ‘The Lost Bookshop’.

Adam spends a great deal of his time in the attic on his own and is cultivating a fear of crowds. He has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Northumbria University, and lives in the wilds of Northumberland. If you wave to him he is unlikely to wave back.

If you are a fan of his work he would most likely congratulate you for your impeccable taste and secondly he would suggest that you visit the website where you’ll find that new stories appear on a regular basis as well as a short story podcast and loads of other things that, as a reader or writer, you might be interested in. He is far more likely to wave at you through the internet.



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