Artists, Thieves & Liars
FROM THE BOOK: "Stijn spent an early November afternoon near Ennis, Montana, doing what he loved, his rejuvenated brushes telling a story of the Madison River and the range of the same name whose shoulders shelter the meandering stream. This one would be for Marge, he decided, not some well-heeled stranger.
It was a long hike up the hill overlooking Ennis, on the other side of which lay Virginia City. The mountain vista and river that stretched out before him was well worth the effort.
A sudden squall came up while he worked, gusting upriver toward him, tumbling his hat across the hardscrabble and onto the Old Virginia City highway. Stijn closed his eyes and felt the wind play with his hair like a masseuse with a thousand adept fingers.
ARTISTS, THIEVES & LIARS is a story ... within a story ... within a story ...
At its center of this tale is a shadowy Dutch landscape painter who flees to America after World War II to escape his past and a fresh start, but he is haunted and his life threatened by the past wherever he turns.
He is discovered living in Montana by Dutch cronies (Nazis) from the war who blackmail him into helping them steal valuable paintings from New York's Frick Museum.
FBI agents stumble onto the thieves' plot and, in turn, blackmail the artist into helping them foil the robbery. To save his reputation and his life the artist must use his wits and the assistance of a beautiful woman to try to turn the tables on the thieves and the FBI. Will they succeed?
A handful of fisherman in small boats struggled in the powerful wind to reel in their lines and find shelter. The roiling black clouds above and whitecaps pushing against the steel-gray river below offered Stijn an extraordinary portrait of raw nature. The swirling gusts caused the long sea-green grasses on the riverbank and fields beyond to undulate in a gentle rhythm as though part of a Hawaiian hula.
Stijn wanted to bottle it for future refinement of this afternoon's work.
Despite the wind and the cold rain that began to pelt him, his brushes moved swiftly to capture as much of the scene as possible. Unlike the harried fishermen Stijn was one with the storm, enjoying a feeling of tranquility in the midst of the maelstrom that one seldom experiences.
READERS REACT: "I loved it! Stayed up late and then climbed back into bed to finish it, an unheard of event, my family says." - M. Williams