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Book Club Kits: A Beautiful Crime

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

From the author of The Destroyers comes an intricately plotted and elegantly structured (Newsday) story of intrigue and deception, set in contemporary Venice and featuring a young American couple who have set their sights on a risky con.

"Stylish... a compelling take on the eternal question of how good people morph into criminals. Terrific."--People, Book of the Week

When Nick Brink and his boyfriend Clay Guillory meet up on the Grand Canal in Venice, they have a plan in mind--and it doesn't involve a vacation. Nick and Clay are running away from their turbulent lives in New York City, each desperate for a happier, freer future someplace else. Their method of escape? Selling a collection of counterfeit antiques to a brash, unsuspecting American living out his retirement years in a grand palazzo. With Clay's smarts and Nick's charm, their scheme is sure to succeed.

As it turns out, tricking a millionaire out of money isn't as easy as it seems, especially when Clay and Nick let greed get the best of them. As Nick falls under the spell of the city's decrepit magic, Clay comes to terms with personal loss and the price of letting go of the past. Their future awaits, but it is built on disastrous deceits, and more than one life stands in the way of their dreams.

A Beautiful Crime is a twisty grifter novel with a thriller running through its veins. But it is also a meditation on love, class, race, sexuality, and the legacy of bohemian culture. Tacking between Venice's soaring aesthetic beauty and its imminent tourist-riddled collapse, Bollen delivers a brilliantly conceived international crime story (Good Morning America).


Discussion Questions

  1. Which places in the book would you most like to visit?
  2. What do you think of the book’s title? How does it relate to the book’s content? What other title might you choose?
  3. This book uses multiple perspectives to tell the story, which one did you prefer and why?
  4. If you were making a movie of this book, who would you cast?
  5. What feelings did this book evoke for you?
  6. Which character in the book would you most like to meet? And the least?
  7. Which scene stuck with you the most?
  8. How did your opinion of the book and its characters change as you read it?
  9. Were there times you disagreed with a character’s actions?
  10. Did the ending answer all your questions? Did you think it was believable or not?