Goya's Ring and The Naked Maja Dancing

Fiction - Mystery - Historical
254 Pages
Reviewed on 10/27/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite

Goya’s Ring and the Naked Maja Dancing by Richard L. Katz covers all the bases for an interesting read. Begin with a long-lost priceless painting, add the dedication of an adventurous art historian, Nazi confiscation of valuable art, cultural and religious diversity, world travels – many intriguing aspects rolled into one story. The art historian and museum curator is Alessandra Santana, a beautiful Spanish woman who is committed to finding this painting, no matter what it takes. This commitment leads to adventurous and dangerous forays. Several other main characters complete the cast, and the reader is never sure who is working with or against Ms. Santana. After many surprising twists and turns in the story, the truth is eventually revealed.

One of the best aspects of this book is the seamless interweaving of so many different areas of interest. Richard L. Katz was truly creative in tying all these aspects together in this novel. It seemed as if he took 500 pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and put it all together – perfectly! There is a considerable amount of historical information about the ongoing effects of the Nazi regime, mostly told through the experiences of a woman who survived the Holocaust as a little child. Katz’s writing style is concise and clear, easily engaging the reader. The development of all the characters is simply brilliant. It is truly a pleasure to read an adventurous, historical novel and not be able to stop reading until you get to the last page – the very definition of a true page-turner!

Lex Allen

The book description for Goya's Ring and The Naked Maja Dancing by Richard L. Katz highlights the theft of a Goya masterpiece by the Nazis at the start of WWII. While this historical moment is the basis for the events that unfold in this story, it is but a small piece of the overall tale. Except for one brief episode at the beginning of the book, this historical moment remains off stage. Another part of the book description mentions “A thrilling tale of intrigue, deceit and romance…” and this is the meat and potatoes of the story. Set in several hotspots around the world, Goya's Ring and The Naked Maja Dancing is an intricate web of plots and subplots that the primary character, Alessandra Santana, must unravel and negotiate to stay alive, accomplish her mission, and clear her name of a previous misadventure. On top of all that, she is forced to deal with a family secret and an impossible love affair along the way.

Mr. Katz uses a deft hand in mixing the individual characters' objectives into a web that remains sticky and convoluted until the end. Mostly, all of the characters are fully defined and appropriately earned my sympathy, empathy or disdain. The author’s writing style is fast paced with just the right amount of background/narrative detail to provide the reader with enough information to build their own image of the characters and the setting. An idiosyncrasy of mine is a big word that means the appearance or semblance of truth — verisimilitude. While the character Alessandra is a fantastic woman of many talents, she is, for me, over the top and therefore not entirely believable. I realize that my foible concerning verisimilitude does not apply to every reader and so I can highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves puzzling intrigues, action, adventure and an exciting, fast paced reading experience.

Faridah Nassozi

In Goya's Ring and The Naked Maja Dancing by Richard L. Katz, Alessandra Santana's vast knowledge of the works of the world's most legendary painters was a valued commodity in art circles. She had been a very respected member of society until a couple of months ago when a Picasso went missing while in her custody, casting her as the main suspect in the theft. The cloud of suspicion was overwhelming. However, when she is approached to help trace and recover a valued family painting stolen by the Nazis during the Holocaust, despite her reservations, she could not turn the project down. If successful, this venture would not just help clear her name, but it would prove the existence of a rumored 200-year-old painting never before seen in public. With very little to go on, Alessandra starts piecing together clues for a very challenging and most thrilling adventure of her career in search of a painting whose only proof of existence lies at the bottom of the ocean. Follow Alessandra in the chase as she uncovers one of the most elaborate conspiracies in the intricate world of art theft, and some shocking truths about her own ancestry

Goya's Ring and The Naked Maja Dancing is an intimate and fascinating journey into the world of art theft brilliantly brought to life through the compelling words of Richard L. Katz. The story fills you with much anxiety and anticipation as the plot unfolds. The eerie feeling that something fishy was about to pop to the surface at any moment was present the whole time I was reading. As I read on, my mind could not resist formulating conspiracy theories, anxiously waiting to see them either proved wrong or right. Goya's Ring and The Naked Maja Dancing by Richard L. Katz is a truly compelling piece of literature and it was an honor and my absolute pleasure to read it.