Gallery Pieces: An Art Mystery

Discover a world of art, crime, and intrigue with Julian Peale, a novice painter turned unexpected art sleuth in a new novel by Larry Witham, award-winning author and 2015 finalist in the Pen Literary Awards.

Former Navy intelligence man Julian Peale enters the art world for the love of painting, but finds its underbelly of crime just as fascinating—and decidedly dangerous.

In his forties, Julian Peale is getting a fresh start. Formerly in Navy intelligence, he’s cast his lot in the New York art world. He’s landed a job with the venerable Medici Studios, which also contracts with the NYPD and FBI. On a winter morning, they’ve run a sting operation to track Russian art smugglers. The caper goes awry, but an odd bit of evidence remains: four art catalogs with graffiti markings.

    So begins Gallery Pieces, a story that will keep readers guessing until the end.

     Peale follows the clues where they lead. He meets a heavy at the Miami Art Fair, chases a mystery bidder at Merriweather’s auction in Manhattan, and crosses paths with a Brooklyn performance artist whose pranks are dangerously entangled in the Russian intrigues. Step by step, Peale enters an art world permeated not only by the avant-garde, but by the Russian mob, hackers, forgers, hipsters, and the history of art looting in Europe during WWII.

     When Peale least expects it, the catalogs lead him on another trail. He is drawn into a long-forgotten mystery surrounding his grandfather, Maxwell Peale, who had been a “monuments man,” a soldier who helped reclaim art looted by the Nazis. Peale is on his way to discovering paintings stolen in postwar Europe. Finding the culprits, however, brings him closer to home than he’d imagined.

From Archway Publishing/Simon & Schuster

Softcover and eBook. 258 pp.

Release date: Jan. 1, 2016. Available now! Review copies available.

Author Interviews: The author writes a twice weekly blog, “Novelists on Artists,” and can interview on the topic of how fiction writers have treated artists and the art world from the Greeks to the present. See his

Larry Witham is an author, editor, journalist, and artist. He has written fifteen books, and was a finalist in the 2015 Pen Literary Awards for biography. Witham lives with his wife in the Maryland suburbs of Washington D.C. This is his third novel. Visit the author at

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