05/23/2011 02:32 pm ET Updated Jul 23, 2011

Book Review Roundup: A Web Of Lies And The Getty's Ethically Unsound Undertakings

"Tangled Webs" by James Stewart

Washington Post

As in earlier books such as “Blood Sport” and “Den of Thieves,” Stewart offers riveting accounts of the unfolding of each drama. He brings to bear his superb skills as an investigative reporter, interviewing the main participants in the four cases, and acquiring previously secret grand jury transcripts and notes by FBI agents and other investigators through Freedom of Information Act requests.

"Missing" by Cornelia Maude Spelman

Chicago Tribune

"Missing" is a quiet book, full of regret and a longing to understand, and largely lacking in the desire to blame prevalent in many contemporary memoirs. What Spelman comes to in the end is compassion for her mother's suffering, and a resolve to show her own children things her mother had not shown her. "I did not want to die, as she had, without having given my son and daughter a map of life that they might safely follow."

"In Zanesville" by Jo Ann Beard

San Francisco Chronicle

Beard writes about youth with startling accuracy and no condescension. She remembers how vital and sustaining those formative friendships can be, and the relationship between the two girls in this novel has the urgency and precariousness of any love story.

"Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum" by Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino

Los Angeles Times

The authors lucidly interweave the stories of the art squad's investigations, True's acquisitions, internecine conflict at the Getty and larger developments in the museum world to create a gripping narrative spiked with vivid character sketches.

"The London Train" by Tessa Hadley


The London Train is the sort of muted, thoughtful read that requires switching from the clattering express onto life's slow local tracks. Hadley, a meticulous stylist, has woven into her narrative reflections on memory and time. But, more than ideas, it is images like the "hawk beak" of a man's sexual interest "jabbing" at a woman that repay the careful reader.

"The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life" by Harold Bloom

The New York Times

Bloom’s life, with its rise from bleak poverty to almost unheard-of celebrity for a literary scholar, pleads for a full-blown memoir, and the most stirring passages in “The Anatomy of Influence” tantalizingly hint at the one he might yet write, enlarging on reminiscences, fleetingly given here, of the Second Avenue Yiddish thea­ter performances he attended as a child and of his father “bringing me a toy scissors for my third birthday in 1933, when the Depression had left him, like many other garment workers, unemployed.”