The Diamond Escape

Fiction - Mystery - General
196 Pages
Reviewed on 05/12/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sheila Bitts, MFA is the author of Roses (poetry, 2018), the collection of short stories, Worth (2022), the novel, The Diamond Escape (2017), and its screenplay (2020). Her new novel, Entanglement (2022), is the second book in the Falloy Private Detective Series. These are noir mystery thrillers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Natalie Soine for Readers' Favorite

The Diamond Escape by Sheila Bitts begins at a platinum mine in Marikana, near Johannesburg, starting in August 2012. In a series of events, miners and drillers were on strike for higher wages as the Mine and Construction Workers Union staged a rally. Unbeknownst to American Investigative Journalist Alain, his friend and photojournalist, Jim Harbor was up to some shady operations involving stealing unpolished diamonds. Later, those same stones became the Cacaw necklace owned by philanthropist Leon Velon Davenport of Designs Gallery. Leon later loaned it to the Chicago Field Museum. Two years later that $11-million diamond necklace was stolen from the Field Museum. That's when he hired Private Detective Frederick (Alain) Falloy to investigate the case of the missing Cacaw diamonds under the watchful eye of experienced homicide officer Phillip Grable. Widow Gail Lynn Fayette of Davenport Designs Gallery assists in the investigation and has exclusive knowledge of the case. Frederick must navigate the variety of possible suspects and circumstances surrounding the theft of the necklace, putting his skills and experience to the ultimate test.

As a South African, I found The Diamond Escape particularly interesting. Sheila Bitts created a remarkable story around the Marikana event and certainly has a vivid imagination. I enjoyed the originality of the plot and the fast pace. There are many interesting characters from past to present who all make the story more exciting and believable. The scenes are well-described, including the museum, which does exist and includes a what-if scenario. Sheila also added a few twists and turns that all keep the reader interested. I look forward to reading more books by this incredible author and am giving this tale a well-deserved five stars.

Liz Konkel

The Diamond Escape by Sheila Bitts opens in 2012 at a diamond mine in South Africa, where Frederick Falloy was working as a reporter. Two years later, Frederick is working as a private detective on a case for stolen Cacaw Diamonds. The case takes a turn when the thief turns to murder, and the evidence starts piling up. Everyone close to Frederick seems likely to be a suspect, with time running out before the diamonds are gone. As he works with officer Phillip Grable, he builds a surprising friendship, and finds romance where he least expects it.

Sheila Bitts is case orientated in her style, with vivid details and a thrilling mystery. Several suspects create twists and turns as Frederick and Grable take one piece of the puzzle after the next. The case is compelling with an underlying commentary, diamonds, and hope for a better tomorrow. The banter between the characters is quick and witty, with Frederick's dialogue changing slightly, depending on who he's addressing. He goes from flirty to snarky within lines, bringing charm, attitude, and heart to the story. A bit of romance between Frederick and Gail touch on the softer side of the case, creating potential new beginnings and chances at a happy ending. Gail is a complicated character, but I like that she's a strong woman who can defend herself and her baby. She's very elegant and sophisticated, and strikes a balance with Frederick. The Diamond Escape brings strong prose and layered characters to life in this gritty detective story.

Alma Boucher

The Diamond Escape by Sheila Bitts is a crime mystery. An eleven-million-dollar diamond necklace was stolen from the Field Museum. The diamonds are known as the Cacaw Diamonds and went missing in South Africa on the same day that thirty-four strikers were shot dead during a strike. These diamonds are tainted by bloodshed and violence. Leon, the current owner, loaned the diamonds to the Field Museum to be displayed, and he will be able to get more than the market value for them. Frederick Falloy is invited to a gallery and is drugged by Leon. Leon wants to hire Falloy to catch the diamond thief. When a body is found at a restaurant, Falloy went to the crime scene where he met Phillip Grable. Falloy and Grable then work together to find the killer and catch the diamond thief.

The Diamond Escape is engaging and exciting. The events are described in detail, and it was easy to visualize the people and events. The plot is complex and requires focus to read. The tension built as the story progressed and kept me on the edge of my seat. The story was fast-paced and jam-packed with action. There was never a dull moment. Sheila Bitts builds the background for a wide number of characters. It was a wild roller coaster ride with participants that were authentic and relatable. Each had a unique personality trait. The story was well written, and mystery and suspense were blended. The twists and turns unraveled toward an excellent ending. It was unexpected and surpassed my expectations.

K.C. Finn

The Diamond Escape is filled with mystery, suspense, and adventure. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience and was penned by Sheila Bitts. In this intriguing novel set in contemporary times, we follow the exploits of private detective Frederick Falloy as he explores the world of jewelry theft in his very first case. Teaming up with veteran homicide detective Phillip Grable, the intrepid pair delves deep into the conspiracy in a violent criminal underbelly that will test Falloy to his limits and make him confront some dark issues of his own along the way.

Sheila Bitts has crafted a concise and intense thriller that will certainly please readers looking to escape into an interesting and atmospheric tale. Having visited Chicago a few times over the last few years, I loved the way that the setting played such a key role in how the plot unfolded and in creating a varied atmosphere of museum culture versus the seedy urban crime underworld. I also enjoyed the character development, especially the inclusion of Gail. Her subtle role grows as the plot progresses and provides a fresh angle for the two male leads to explore their options. In particular, Grable’s dialogue tickled me and reflected the grizzled old vet that he was. The novel’s narrative flow had a lot of slick charm and was easy to follow and enjoy. I would highly recommend The Diamond Escape to mystery fans everywhere who are seeking a great new detective series to enjoy.