Friday, May 28, 2010

A BOLT FROM THE BLUE - Diane A.S. Stuckart

FIRST LINE: "Bright brown eyes peered over the edge of my notebook, the unexpected sight distracting me from the portrait in which I had been engrossed."

Dino, a.k.a. Delfina della Fazia, is called on by his Master, Leonardo da Vinci, to assist in the building of his flying machine. Relations among the city-states of Italy are volatile and the Duke of Milan wants to make the concept of the flying machine a reality so he can take control of the skies to have the advantage over his adversaries. Leonardo also hires a master carpenter to consult help with the development; he hires Dino's father. 

They have hardly begun their work when another apprentice to Leonardo is murdered. The clues quickly indicate that the murder is tied to the flying machine. Before the murderer can be discovered, the flying machine and Dino's father disappear. Dino must race against time to find his father and recover the flying machine. If it finds its way into the wrong hands, it could have dire consequences for all of Milan.

A BOLT FROM THE BLUE is Diane Stuckart's third book in the Leonardo da Vinci Mystery series. As with the previous two, it is a quick, light, enjoyable read. Delfina continues to develop as a character, and the inclusion of her father is a nice addition to the series. Leonardo remains an important character but keeps more to the background in this tale. What is brought to the forefront again is his exceptional intelligence. While Leonardo's apprentices study painting skills under him, this chapter in the saga focuses on da Vinci's engineering skills and of course the concept of his flying apparatus. Stuckart does a superb job throughout this series of reminding readers that da Vinci was indeed a Renaissance man.

Stuckart develops the time period, the setting, and the political unrest without bogging down the reader. The sum of all the story's elements bring Leonardo da Vinci's Italy to life. 

While A BOLT FROM THE BLUE came out earlier this year, when snow was still plaguing my neck of the woods, it will make a great beach read for cozy lovers. Some references are made to the first two books in this series, but BOLT can easily be read and fully appreciated without prior knowledge of those books.

A BOLT FROM THE BLUE is available now from Berkley Publishing Group (ISBN: 978-0-425-23217-0) in trade paper.

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Diane A.S. Stuckart May 28, 2010 at 11:01 AM  

Hi Jen...thanks for the nice write-up of BOLT. Stagnant characters are a pet peeve of mine when it comes to series, so I'm glad you're seeing my characters grow and change. FYI, I am now contracted for a contemporary mystery series with Berkley Prime Crime. The first BLACK CAT BOOKSHOP MYSTERY will be out sometime in Summer 2011. Yes, it's "another" cat mystery, but I think readers will find fun and originality in my take of the old standby, even if they're not normally cat folks. I'll keep you posted!

Al Hallonquist May 29, 2010 at 11:26 AM  

I just completed reading Dianne's Leonardo series. Finally! I highly recommend, Dianne rocks between the pages and in person!

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