Thursday 3/7, 7 p.m.
About BA Shapiro and The Collectors Apprentice
New York Times bestselling author B. A. Shapiro has made the historical art thriller her own with such novels as The Muralist and The Art Forger, which The Washington Post praised for its “skillful balance of brisk plotting, significant emotional depth and a multi-layered narration rich with a sense of moral consequence.” With The Collector's Apprentice—her third, boldest, and best book with Algonquin—Shapiro takes readers to Paris in the 1920s and the ever-fascinating world of Gertrude Stein’s salon and the artists, such as Matisse and Picasso, with whom she surrounded herself. These and other real-life icons are deftly integrated into a gripping mystery involving love, intrigue, murder and, of course, art.
When she is accused of playing a role in a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by her erstwhile fiancé, Paulien Mertens seeks solace and sanctuary in Paris, where she creates a false identity as a Frenchwoman named Vivienne Gregsby. As Vivienne attempts to recover her father’s art collection—stolen along with all her family’s assets—and prove her innocence, the eccentric and wealthy American art collector Edwin Bradley offers her a job. She is soon immersed in the world of expatriates and post-Impressionist art, becoming Matisse’s lover, and traveling between Paris and Bradley’s native Philadelphia, where he is building an art museum. But her exciting new life is abruptly interrupted when Vivienne is arrested for Bradley’s murder.
B. A. Shapiro is New York Times bestselling author of The Muralist and The Art Forger, which won the New England Book Award for Fiction and the Boston Authors Society Award for Fiction, among other honors. Her books have been selected as Community Reads in numerous cities and have been translated into over ten languages. Shapiro has taught sociology at Tufts University and creative writing at Northeastern University. She divides her time between Boston and Florida along with her husband, Dan, and their dog, Sagan.
“B.A. Shapiro is back with a platinum potion of art, love, and scandal, set against the big backdrop of Paris between the wars. If you can put The Collector’s Apprentice down, you’re made of stronger stuff than I am. I read it in one sumptuous sitting. This is a big story, from a big talent.”
—Jacquelyn Mitchard, bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean
“I was engrossed in every twist and turn in this compulsively captivating page turner, all the way until its astonishing denouement. Shapiro has done it again!”
—Thrity Umrigar, bestselling author of The Space Between Us
Tim Johnston, whose breakout debut Descent was called “astonishing,” “dazzling,” and “unforgettable” by critics, returns with The Current, a tour de force about the indelible impact of a crime on the lives of innocent people.
In the dead of winter, outside a small Minnesota town, state troopers pull two young women and their car from the icy Black Root River. One is found downriver, drowned, while the other is found at the scene—half frozen but alive.
What happened was no accident, and news of the crime awakens the community’s memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years earlier, and whose killer may still live among them.
Determined to find answers, the surviving young woman soon realizes that she’s connected to the earlier unsolved case by more than just a river, and the deeper she plunges into her own investigation, the closer she comes to dangerous truths, and to the violence that simmers just below the surface of her hometown.
Grief, suspicion, the innocent and the guilty—all stir to life in this cold northern town where a young woman can come home, but still not be safe. Brilliantly plotted and unrelentingly propulsive, The Current is a beautifully realized story about the fragility of life, the power of the past, and the need, always, to fight back.
Tim Johnston is the author of the story collection Irish Girl, and the young adult novel Never So Green. Irish Girl won the 2009 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction. Johnston’s stories have also appeared in New England Review, New Letters, the Iowa Review, the Missouri Review, DoubleTake, Best Life Magazine, and Narrative Magazine, among others. He holds degrees from the University of Iowa and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and lives in Iowa City.
Praise for Tim Johnston
“Outstanding . . . The days when you had to choose between a great story and a great piece of writing? Gone.” —Esquire
“The story unfolds brilliantly, always surprisingly . . . The magic of his prose equals the horror of Johnston’s story; each somehow enhances the other . . . Read this astonishing novel.” —The Washington Post
“Johnston’s descriptive prose attains a level of visceral brio . . . [An] engulfing thriller-cum-western.” —The New York Times Book Review
“This is much more than your typical thriller. Johnston has written a book that makes Gone Girl seem gimmicky . . . Johnston is an excellent writer. You want to set this one down so you can take a breath, and keep reading—all at the same time.” —Alan Cheuse on NPR’s All Things Considered
“ Tim Johnston’s high-wire literary thriller . . . will leave you gasping.” —Vanity Fair
“ [A] twisty thriller about a family grappling with loss.”
—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Combining domestic drama with wilderness adventure, Johnston has created a hybrid novel that is as emotionally satisfying as it is viscerally exciting.”
—Publisher's Weekly Starred Review