Excerpt from The Big Steal by Emyl Jenkins, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Big Steal

by Emyl Jenkins

The Big Steal by Emyl Jenkins X
The Big Steal by Emyl Jenkins
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Jul 2009, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I shivered, partly from the biting cold, and partly from my unexplainable, but very real, queasy feelings about the whole situation. I tried telling myself that damp, creepy old houses, especially those set back in dark country woods, can give off eerie vibes. I thought of Hansel and Gretel. Remembering my childish fright I chuckled. Why, it was nothing more than Wynderly itself that was giving me the sense that something was amiss.

Feeling better, I stared hard at the photograph of Mazie and Hoyt as if hoping it would speak to me.

We can never go back again, that much is certain, Mother had told me the day we closed up her home, some months after my father died.

Trying to make light of the heartbreaking moment, I had said, "I think Daphne du Maurier said it first, Mother. In Rebecca."

I tried to imagine Hoyt and Mazie's lives during that time when ladies wore picture hats to tea parties and gentlemen dressed for dinner. What dreams they must have dreamed as they watched their house rise from its stone foundation to its magnificent completion. And all the stuff in it? Chances were the Wyndfields, like scores of my clients, had simply met up with a few fast-talking antiques wheeler-dealers and fallen for their spiels.

I kept thinking about those Tang horses. Add in Michelle Hendrix's puzzling demeanor and the eerie aura surrounding the house . . . In no time, uneasy feelings had crept back into my head. What I needed was a delete button in my brain like the one on my computer.

Get a grip, Sterling, I told myself. This isn't one of those novels about art theft or jewelry heists; this is life. Real life.

I'd been bent over so long, I needed to get my circulation going again—to clear my mind, if nothing else. I stood, only to stumble over a raised beam that blended into the pine floor's shadowy grain. I lurched forward and instinctively reached out to grab something before I hit the wall in front of me. A tower of boxes moved under my momentum, and together we landed in a heap on the floor.

The plank beneath my feet had moved, or at least that's the way it felt. Instead of falling forward, my body twisted and first my hip, then my shoulder, took the impact of the fall.

The faint lightbulb dangling from the attic ceiling had flickered, then gone out when I fell. A small casement window was nearby, but afternoon clouds had settled in. Crawling forward, I mentally kicked myself for not bringing in the flashlight I kept in my car for just such situations.

No question about it. One of the wide floorboards had sunk at least half, maybe even three-quarters of an inch below the boards on each side of it. I patted the floor around me. My hand hit an obstruction. The beam I had stumbled over was definitely jutting up through the floor. It was probably part of a high-vaulted ceiling I'd seen on my tour of the house.

I pushed on the sunken board in hopes it might pop back in place. When I did, the wall I had barely avoided hitting head-on creaked ever so slightly. My hands went wet and my throat dry. I swallowed hard and pressed the board again, harder this time. There was no mistaking the connection between the movement of the displaced piece of flooring and the low creaking coming from what looked like just another wall—except it was paneled, not unfinished the way other parts of the attic were. Maybe the plan had been to build a closet or a maid's room, but they never got around to doing it. As my eyes adjusted to the dimness, I set about restacking the fallen boxes, one of which had broken open. Strewn across the floor were sheets of dry onionskin paper held together by rusty paper clips and straight pins. Official-looking ledger pages were mixed in with handwritten receipts, as were several small books.

Enough late afternoon light was trickling through the windows so I could make out the larger lettering on some of the receipts. I gathered a handful and began sifting through them. "Société anonyme au capital de 250.000 Francs. Invoice. Nürnberg. American Consulate. Hong Kong. Customs Broker. Saaz."

Excerpted from The Big Steal by Emyl Jenkins. Copyright © 2009 by Emyl Jenkins. Excerpted by permission of Algonquin Books, a division of Workman Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Brass
    Brass
    by Xhenet Aliu
    In 1996, Waterbury, Connecticut is a town of abandoned brass mills. Eighteen-year-old Elsie ...
  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...
  • Book Jacket: Mothers of Sparta
    Mothers of Sparta
    by Dawn Davies
    What it's about:
    The tagline on the back cover of Mothers of Sparta says it all: "Some women...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin

    A dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The French Girl
    by Lexie Elliott

    An exhilarating debut psychological suspense novel for fans of Fiona Barton and Ruth Ware.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Beartown

Now in Paperback!

From the author of a A Man Called Ove, a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T I M A Slip B C A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.