Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder by Steve S. Saroff

Publisher: Flooding Island

Date of publication: February 2nd, 2022

Genre: Thriller, Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Suspense, Mystery Thriller

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

While breaking into a financial network, a hacker falls for a dangerous artist.

Based on the buried events of one of the largest criminal frauds in history, Paper Targets digs into the motivations of criminals on the fringe. Critics and reviewers are calling it “Wonderfully written,” “A novel to read now,” and “A literary thriller with a soul.”

Set in Montana, Paper Targets simmers with greed and love before boiling over along the red-flagged path between lost and found.

First Line:

My first secret was that I could not read. And yet my earliest joy was listening to the murmuring of my mother as she read to me.

Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder by Steve S. Saroff

Enzi has struggled his entire life with dyslexia. Going through school without getting the help he needed, Enzi couldn’t read or understand numbers until he taught himself as an older teenager. By his mid 20’s, Enzi had gotten his life together and was running a successful company with a fellow coder. He also has gotten caught up in a scheme to fleece an international financial company. But that all changed when he met Kaori, the night she got arrested for assault after attacking her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend. That starts a tumultuous relationship, ending with one in jail for murder and the other on the run. What happened?

When I agreed to read and review Paper Targets, I did it because of the need for more information in the blurb. A lack of information would have me skipping over the book. But in this case, it caught my attention and made me want to read it. I am glad I read this book because it was good.

Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder started slow. The author did that to show Enzi’s upbringing, his struggles with dyslexia, and his life before Kaori came into it. After Kaori was introduced, the storyline sped up to medium-fast pacing.

The main storyline of Paper Targets is centered around Enzi, Kaori, their relationship, and Enzi’s illegal hacking job for Tsai. This storyline was well-written, with well-fleshed-out characters. The author explained Enzi’s legal coding (and illegal hacking) job in a way I understood (I am not code-savvy).

Surprisingly, Enzi was a likable character. I thought he was sweet and he had a conscience. The whole hacking secondary storyline showed that-well, towards the end, it showed that. Also, this man had horrible taste in women. At the beginning of the book, he stays in a relationship where she mocks him for his stutter and job (a janitor), and then there is the relationship with Kaori. I do like that his character did grow during this book, and not only did he do the right thing, but he didn’t take credit for it.

I don’t know how to describe how I felt about Kaori. At a point in the book, I wondered if everything she did was in her head. She was also crazy talented. I liked how the author showcased her art as a confession once she and Enzi returned to Montana.

The storyline about the hacking and Tsai was interesting. I liked seeing how Enzi evolved from being involved with the whole thing to not wanting anything to do with it and, ultimately, helping the police. The author created a storyline that kept me guessing and kept my blood pressure up.

The end of Paper Targets was interesting. I liked how the author ended all of the storylines. Except for Enzi’s, they all ended in a way that satisfied me. But Enzi’s storyline, I wish that it could have ended a little better. I wish that he could have had a happier ending. But, in a way, I guess he was happy.

I recommend Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder to anyone over 21. There is language, sexual situations, and violence.

Many thanks to Flooding Island Press and Steve S. Saroff for allowing me to read and review Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Steve S. Saroff

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