The Resurrection of Jesus by Yancey Williams
|The Resurrection of Jesus by Yancey Williams|
|Category: Literary Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A classy look at what led up to an art theft. A decidedly good read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 172||Date: January 2019|
|External links: Author's website|
In March 1990 two police officers entered Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. They left with thirteen famous paintings by Rembrandt, Degas and Vermeer. The frames remain empty to this day: whilst there might have been rumours about the whereabouts of the paintings, even promises that the case was about to be solved, the paintings are still missing. Yancey Williams has a theory, which he elaborates on in his novel The Resurrection of Jesus, and whilst his suspects might seem unlikely, who's to say that he's wrong? Forget the assertions that it was down to the Mafia and meet Jésus Ángel Escobar and Hiram Johnny Walker Quicksilver.
Jésus is just out of prison and you sense that he's been before and that's there's every possibility he'll be there again. There's a streak of violence which runs right through him, but oddly, he's difficult to dislike. He makes the most of what's available to him and he's honest to himself, if to no one else. I lost count of the number of times I laughed out loud at what he said or did: he's the sort of character you're delighted to have met in a book, but even more pleased that you don't know in real life. He's the Mexican half of the duo: Hiram Johnny Walker Quicksilver (Quick to those who know him) is Native American. He's still fighting the battle that Custer started. The pair are streetwise: I loved Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel. Apparently it's an old Arab proverb.
Now the story isn't about the heist: that's almost incidental. It's about how two lives came together and how they came to be involved in the opportunity. I've avoided saying 'took advantage of the opportunity', because, as Quick explains to us: the thrill for Jésus was always in the con... Neither of them are big on forward planning or thinking beyond their next pleasure. Characterisation is superb. Jésus and Quick take centre stage, but there's an excellent supporting cast, and they all come off the page fully clothed. Well, other than when it would impede their enjoyment of what they're doing.
What really shone for me was the writing. I know within a few pages whether or not I'm going to enjoy a book and this time I knew that Yancey Williams could play with words in a way which would hold my attention right to the final page. I laughed , probably in the most inappropriate places and even enjoyed some of the stream-of-consciousness passages. I don't think I've ever said that before. Williams is an author to watch.
And do I buy into Williams' theory about what happened? Well, it stood up just as well as the suggestions which I've read that the IRA have the paintings...
Talking of art heists, it's more than a decade since I read Doors Open by Ian Rankin. I enjoyed what Williams had to say rather more.
You can read more about Yancey Williams here.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Resurrection of Jesus by Yancey Williams at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Resurrection of Jesus by Yancey Williams at Amazon.com.
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