Cover Image: The Steal

The Steal

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Member Reviews

Although M.J. Rose is not new to me, and I love her stories, C.W. Gortner is new to me. I will gladly read more by these two authors. I enjoyed this romantic adventure and it was definitely suspenseful and had a surprise ending to me. I can’t wait to read more .
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At under 150 pages, The Steal is a novella. Going in, I knew that, but I did NOT know that it would have a cliffhanger ending and that The Steal is intended as the first book in a series. The next book will be The Bait, expected in January 2022. I was enjoying the story and figured the big ending was coming up quickly as I neared the end of the book. And then, boom. The book just ended! 

Other than that sudden ending, I enjoyed the story and the characters. The male lead, Jerome, was more likable than the female lead, Ania, but both of them had depths of character. The setting in the late 1950s Europe and New York City seemed accurate, as well as the clothing described. The cameo appearances by celebrities added a bit of fun also.

The chapters alternated between being narrated by either Jerome or by Ania, and this was an effective technique.

Thank you to NetGalley and Blue Box Press/Author Buzz for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend—until they’re stolen. Did I need more to be convinced that this book was worth the read? Not at all. Except maybe this truly beautiful cover because I’m slightly shallow. The Steal was a quick and deeply enjoyable read. It was easy to read and a great way to spend my morning. I have no regret. Because I would rather read about stolen diamonds and Leopard than exercise and go grocery shopping, obviously. 

I had never read a book written by either C.W. Gortner nor by M.J. Rose before but I will definitely keep an eye on them. Why? Because this book was truly well written and even though I hate the French Riviera with a passion, the setting and the fact that the story takes place in the late 1950s did seduce me, I admit. It was pleasant to follow Ania (head of an important Jewelry company) and Jerome (my new and only favorite insurance investigator), my eyes stayed glued to my phone. I had fun, isn’t it what matters most? 

Overall, if you’re looking for a short story with a glamorous setting, an adventurous and fast-paced plot, and a good amount of romance, The Steal is what you need. I am definitely looking forward for the sequel (and another pretty cover)!
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Ania is jeweler to the stars. She is in Cannes for the film festival when all her jewels are stolen. It is up to Jerome to find out who did this and save Ania’s livelihood.

This story has a little bit of everything, intrigue, history, intensity and a touch of romance! Perfect for a one sitting read! I enjoyed the old Hollywood feel. Elizabeth Taylor and several others made this seem so real and authentic. Add Jerome and Ania connection with the setting of France and you have a wonderful tale!

Need a quick, easy, intriguing novella! This is it! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel for a honest review.
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What I liked:
💎 The setting- Cannes film festival, 1950's glam? Loved it
💎 The strong heroine character of Ania
💎 The high stakes atmosphere of a jewel heist

What I didn't like:
💎 The length- clocking in at only 141 pages, I felt that the mystery elements were rushed- I wanted a bit more intrigue!
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Thank you Netgalley and Blue Box Press for access to this arc.

As it was probably intended to do, the cover made me think of Grace Kelly and “To Catch a Thief” along with a hefty dose of French Riviera glamor. Of course I had to read it. The book is actually fairly short in length so I don’t begrudge the action starting even before the book does and then not letting up much for the remainder. 

Rumpled insurance investigator (so not a high powered job for our hero but I loved that) Jerome Curtis arrives after the impressive heist of mega moolahs worth of designer jewelry, tasked with trying to recover the bespoke pieces that Ania Thorne brought for some of her wealthy and famous clients to wear to the festival. He’s impressed that she hasn’t collapsed from the shock but both he and I can easily see that beautiful Ania maintains a tight grip over her emotions. So tight that at times I thought she’d crack. After her father was ousted from the board of his own company, Ania stepped in and took over and her control is part of making it as a woman in a man’s world. 

It doesn’t take Curtis long to figure a few things out and begin to rock Ania’s professional world. By the end of 24 hours, Ania is facing some hard truths – can she contain the damage to the company’s reputation? Is there a chance that Curtis can figure out if the famous jewel thief the “Leopard” is the one behind this? And what are these two going to do about that evening in a small hotel in the Latin Quarter?

The high society of the mid 1950s are evoked in all their glamour and elegance. Jerome has a bit of a chip on his shoulder which might be do to the fact that he wears a creased gabardine suit amidst this world of quiet riches where his company’s client has her own jet, apartments in Paris and Los Angeles, and rubs shoulders with the movers and shakers who have the cash to drop on her elegantly created pieces of jewelry. 

Jerome also has an idea who might be behind the theft and manages to stay equal to or only one step behind someone who has carefully planned every move and knows exactly what they’re doing. Ania carefully curates the facade of an unflappable woman and for the most part (huzzah!) she is one. She’s been raised to eventually take over the company and nothing is going to destroy what she’s worked so hard to claw back once already from the brink. She also owns her sexuality. 

As the two of them rushed to figure out what could happen next, I began to try and put together the clues. A few things I felt needed a bit more explanation yet at the same time, that would have probably given the game away too early. I had an inkling about who dunnit but even with a little villain monologuing, most of what is needed to piece together the thief’s identity is there. Ania’s reactions to the roller coaster her life becomes seem realistic while Jerome tips his hand about his feelings by his action in the end rather than anything he says. As the book ends, these two are still not in any real relationship which is fine with me since it would push things into something that just isn’t there yet. I hope that there will be a sequel because … well, reasons and I want to see more of these two clashing in all the ways they clash. B-
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A star studded event, with the ultimate heist before it could even get started.  How could this possibly happen?  The adventure to find the Leopard, leads to a bit of romance, with an unseemly pair.  I feel the ending left me wanting to tie up lose ends.  How the lives of those involved were impacted by the events that unfolded.
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A delightful novella based loosely on the movie To Catch a Thief. I really enjoyed it and the characters and location and looking forward to future installments.
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This was a quick fun read, perfect for a relaxing weekend. Set in 1957, this is a classic caper mystery. I normally don't enjoy alternating chapters from different voices but it didn't bother me with The steal. The two characters are Ania Throne and Jerome Curtis and it's a case of opposites. Ania is elegant and Jerome is more like a rumpled, unmade bed in appearance. She has been designing upscale, high end jewelry since she was nineteen and has taken over from her father when their board of directors forced him out. She has a lot riding on her latest collection which will be on show at the famous Cannes Film Festival. Millions of dollars in precious gems will adorn some of the most famous and most beautiful women around and success would mean a revitalization of her company. Too bad it also has attracted the attention of a notorious and elusive thief known as The Leopard. When the entire collection is stolen, Jerome is sent by the insurance company to investigate and retrieve the jewelry. That sets the stage for a caper worthy of the classic movies of the 1950's with Ania and Jerome going from Cannes to London to New York - all in a chase to unmask The Leopard.
I enjoyed The Steal from start to finish and I thank the publisher Blue Box Press and NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Set in the 1950’s, The Steal is the first novella in a new series by M.J. Rose and C.W. Gortner and is both a caper story and an open door romance.

Jerome Curtis is the competent but rather rumpled insurance investigator sent to recover stolen jewelry intended for celebrities to wear at Cannes. He’s soon in pursuit of The Jaguar, a notorious thief and his personal obsession, along with jeweler Ania Thorne - an elegant, icy blonde who brings several 1950’s actresses to mind.

With insights into Jerome’s history chasing Nazis after World War II and the way Ania was molded from childhood, this is a story that is interesting on multiple levels. With an ending that leaves much open for the second novella to develop, this caper is a bit of an opposites attract story with a one bed trope thrown in for good measure. Told in alternating voices, there were a few times I was thrown out of the story by a detail or phrase, but overall this first romantic adventure for Ania and Jerome is a bit of historical fiction fun.

This review refers to a digital galley I voluntarily read via NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own. This review originally appeared on Instagram.
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A High Profile Jewelry Theft in Cannes

Ania Thorne, a talented jewelry designer, has worked hard for the last five years to restore the reputation of her father’s company. She has planned a stunning collection centered around special designs for three movie stars that will be shown at the international film festival, but now the enterprise is threatened by the theft of the jewels.

Jerome Curtis is an insurance investigator. He arrives in Cannes to locate the stolen gems. He immediately sees that several things are unusual, like leaving the jewels in a separate room from Ania’s suite. Then at lunch Ania’s salad arrives with a surprise. One of the pieces is returned with a note. 

The audacity of the theft and particularly the note lead Curtis to the assumption that the thief is none other than the fabled jewelry their, Leopold. Now the chase is on and he can’t ignore his increasing interest in Ania. 

This book is reminiscent of a 1950’s movie. There’s glamour, priceless jewels, a notorious thief and a budding romance. The pace is fast much like a movie. The descriptions of the Carleton Hotel and the avenues of Paris combined with movie stars and jewels is an irresistible combination.  

Ania’s character is perfect. She has trained herself to be an ice queen, showing no emotion, to keep her competitors from getting an emotional edge. I enjoyed seeing her transition to a warmer person as she helped Curtis chase the thief. Curtis was also an excellent character. He’s tough and smart and his rumpled appearance is the perfect foil to Ania’s icy perfection. 

If you like romance with a gorgeous setting and a mystery, this is a good one. 

I received this book from Net Galley for this review.
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The Steal is a fast paced romantic mystery set in France during 1950. Ania Throne arrives in France with her jewelry collection to be wore by various actors at the Cannes Festival. Jewelery theft at the event brings her in touch with the investigator Jerome Curtis. Together they form a team to find the infamous thief Leopard.

C. W. Gortner and M. J. Rose has delivered a fun, quirky, fast paced heist story with sprinkle of romance. I really enjoyed reading this short book of 141 long.

Thank you GetRedPR, @netgalley, @mjroseauthor and #cwgorner and @1001darknights_blueboxpress for including me on this epic tour
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Thanks to NetGalley and Blue Box Press for the chance to read a copy of this book!

Warning: Ends on a cliffhanger! But before the cliffhanger, it was a fun, retro mystery/adventure that made me feel like I was watching a Cary Grant movie, just with more discussion of the fallout from WWII.
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Classic 1950s Jewel Heist
This story was more than I was expecting. An insurance recovery agent with a sordid WWII past is after a jewel thief. This is a good story with believable characters. The setting is classic late 1950s Europe with the famous actors of the time gathering at Cannes and wanting to be dressed in expensive, unique jewelry. The story keeps the reader hopping with few clues to who the thief is. The story ends with the suggestion of a story arc that will take a few episodes to cover. This should be a good series! I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
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Fun historical romantic suspense set in the 1950's. I enjoyed reading about Ania and Jerome.  Loved their interactions and chemistry. This book reminded me of the old Cary Grant-type caper movies. It was kind of a quick story that ended with a set-up for the next book in the series. 
Will they be able to find (and stop) the Leopard?

Thank you to the publisher, Blue Box Press, and NetGalley for a copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own and without bias or favor or expectation expectation.
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A delightful romantic caper!
Ania Throne is the head of one of the biggest Jewelry Companies in the world. She is in Cannes with her latest designs meant to grace the heads, throats, and wrists of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but when the notorious jewelry thief the Leopard manages to get away with her entire collection, she teams up with insurance investigator Jerome Curtis to hunt down the thief and help save her business.
It is 1957 and Ania has recently taken over the business from her father who was forced out by the board of directors, causing a strain to their relationship. Determined to breath new life into the company and shore up its reputation, Ania is not about to sit idly by and let the rumple-suited, mysterious Jerome take over. The duo devises a plan to trap the Leopard and find out his true identity. The chase takes them from Cannes to Paris to New York, with danger around every corner, delightful plot twists and a cliff-hanger ending. 
A fast-paced, glamorous romp, with an “opposites attract” romance and a sprinkling of celebrity sightings and historical landmarks. I can’t wait for the next installment.
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I'm new to these authors and I couldn't wait to dive into The Steal, especially seeing as it's the first time they’ve teamed up. Also, springboarding off contemporary romance, I’m more into romantic suspense and crime novels than ever.

“Leopards don’t like to be trapped.”
“They don’t. But only a trap will catch him.”

The character development is strong insofar as the female protagonist isn’t at all likeable. I’m pretty sure this was the authors’ goal, her traits certainly making me more aware of her feelings. I understood her anxiety; nevertheless, the way she treats those who work for her irritated me. I can’t say the same thing about the leading man who is much more considerate.

'Cold as a glacier when the mood overtakes her. But there was also fear.'

Ania Throne knows her business inside out. Bred to take on the world of jewellery, what shouldn’t have been possible happens in the blink of an eye, leaving no trail of dust. In steps Jerome Curtis, the insurance investigator who’s determined to track down the culprit. Not only is he the perfect candidate to unravel the theft, but he’s also a rough diamond with a past. Observer extraordinaire, did he rock my socks off or what!

“Don’t make promises. I never trust promises.”

I loved the middle 50s postwar era setting, the whodunit plot and the descriptive writing that gave me a distinct déjà vu feel. The protagonists ‘shall or shan’t we get to know each other better angle’, the take on opposites attract regardless of tomorrows is very well done. And if you want to see if they’ll succumb to temptation, I can’t recommend reading this action-packed novella enough.

Men might fantasize about an independent woman in the bedroom, but they rarely want one in real life—and certainly not outside the bedroom.

The authors did a marvellous job with the dual perspectives in the present tense. However, a little bit more banter wouldn’t have gone amiss. Blinking heck, I could have stamped on my e-reader when I reached the ending. By no means satisfied and led to believe that The Steal was a stand-alone, I started to investigate. And just as well! The Steal is the first novella in the To Catch A Leopard series, The Bait coming 4th January 2022.

'Goddesses don’t fall in love with mortals. They use and discard them.'

I had to think hard about my final rating. Almost halfway through the book, I’d jumped the gun and awarded it three stars. But as I progressed, the mysterious jewel thief known as the Leopard intrigued me even more and I upped it to four stars! Bravo to C.W. Gortner and M.J. Rose!

ARC kindly received from Blue Box Press through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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M.J. Rose is a great writer and I love most of her books - 'The Steal' is a romantic 'caper' set in the 1950s and although the premise is great, I was not fully engaged with the protagonists.  Ania Throne and Jerome Curtis work together searching for her stolen jewelry and fall in love while traveling through europe.  I expected more of a fun romp and the book was at times too serious and at other times too frivolous.    I haven't read anything by the coauthor CW Gortner and will stick with books written only by M.J. Rose in the future.
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This was a fun and exciting book to read! Love the elaborate heist and the glamour of 1950s set in Cannes, Paris and New York. I enjoyed the mystery and of course, the partnership/blooming romance of Jerome and Ania. I also love that Ania’s a force to reckon with during the male-dominated era. I wasn’t able to guess who the Leopard is so that’s a bonus. My only complaint is that the ending was a major cliffhanger so I need to read the 2nd book soon!!! 😭
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This new heist novel by M. J. Rose is a fun summer read, with jewels, thieves, and the French Riviera.  The tone is reminiscent of old movies with a strong sense of setting, and tons of action.  The cliffhanger ending sets the stage for a follow-on novel involving the same characters.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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