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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
Self Portrait by Jim Sano is a moving mystery novel involving a complicated case that tests the main character’s moral principles. Though it has been decades since the last art heist occurred, which still remains unsolved, Billy is determined to solve the recent art theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Now close to retirement, Billy looks back at his long-lasting career. He appreciates the bond between the Boston police officers and the support he has received from them over the years, especially, now he is about to retire. A close friendship has developed between Billy and his young partner, Sean, who has become like family to Billy and his wife. As details about the case unfold, Billy is forced to make difficult decisions that test his principles and bring back painful memories.
Jim Sano adeptly crafts complex, well-fleshed-out characters who struggle with internal and external conflicts. I loved that Billy’s personal life is explored and interwoven with the mystery. Other characters are also relatable including Sean and Billy’s friend, Father Tom. The story includes many suspenseful turns and poignant scenes that kept me drawn to the characters and their experiences. The story’s end is powerful and satisfying. Each sub-plot is fully developed and concluded by the end of the novel. Self Portrait is an immersive faith-based novel that features unforgettable characters, heart-rending scenes, and many unexpected twists. Fans of mystery novels will love the story’s originality, believable lead characters, and the heart-warming bond between them. Highly recommended.