Placed on a medical leave of absence from her job as a special agent in the National Protection and Investigation Unit, Mikala Flynn is a woman on the edge—guilt-ridden, depressed, battling war wounds and personal demons. The world and the relationships as she knew them no longer exist. Now, the streets of New York, the bottle, and anonymous sex have become her solace.
In the midst of a fire escape bender, Flynn overhears her crazy-like-a-fox grandmother and her art-world cronies planning a daring theft of a valuable historical document. Eventually Flynn crashes the party and agrees to take on the heist herself. Along the way, Flynn runs into, both literally and figuratively, her estranged best friend, an alluring, mysterious thief who throws multiple wrenches into the works, and the ex-love of her life.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"Art heists and “what if” capers from both years ago and today fascinate the hell out of me. From the movies Oceans 11 to The Monuments Men to the historical subplots Clive Cussler connects to the present in almost every novel he’s written, I’m hooked. For maybe the last seven or eight years I’ve played with the idea of writing about an art thief. Someone who steals items that were initially stolen from another and returns them to the rightful owner. Sounded simple enough to me until it wasn’t. I also have a deep interest in the Holocaust and those affected by In Quest for Redemption, I focused specifically on the Roma people, also known as Travelers (or by the pejorative term gypsies) and how they were targeted by Hitler’s killing machine. A lot of research boiled down to not a lot of material that ended up in the book, but out of the ashes came Flynn, Quest’s protagonist, along with her grandmother, Tubs. As an infant, Tubs was smuggled out of a Polish ghetto just before its occupants were moved to Chelmno, a Nazi extermination camp.
Poor Flynn’s got a backstory she doesn’t know the half of. The craziness ranges from who and what Tubs really is, to Flynn’s deceased mother and the possibility her death might not have been an accident, to the reason for her dad’s murder. Then throw in a stolen family heirloom, the conundrum of Kate, Flynn’s maybe-not-so-lost love, a little alcoholism, a lot of guilt, and a paraplegic best friend. Things become real messy real fast. It’ll be a ton of fun sorting this stuff out as the series continues.
I love to read quirky, crazy characters, and I love art and making it (creating mixed media abstracts makes my heart sing) so I mashed it up. We have character chaos in the Art Squad, a group of elders made up of Tubs and six of her art world cronies, all ranging in age from mid-fifties to mid-seventies. Each member has a particular skill: there’s an stuttering artwork conservationist, a Japanese police sketch artist, a walrus-mustachioed art gallery director, a very dramatic special effects makeup artist, a kind and feisty art historian, a very knowledgeable estate appraiser, and an exhibition coordinator/Holocaust expert. I figured these skill sets would come in handy for any art thief.
Then I needed a locale for this tale. Where better to circulate within the art world than New York? My wife Betty is from Newark. We’ve spent some time in Manhattan, so I figured that would be a fun place to set the story. Key West, Florida also plays a part in that Flynn lived there from toddler to teen. Key West is a nod to my beloved aunt and the cherished time we spent through the years at Key West by the Sea.
Quest has been stubborn and soul-searching and difficult and eye-opening to write. When I didn’t think there was coherence, I was shown there was. When I didn’t think I could finish it, I got the kick in the a** I needed. Now my hope is that readers will hop on Flynn’s roller coaster and take the ride."—Jessie Chandler