The Cloisters by Katy Hays

Dark, sinister, intricate and ultimately surprising, this art and antique-themed thriller will engage the reader’s interest up to and including the final shocking reveal.

The Cloisters by Katy Hays
Atria Books
Hardcover | $28
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There are numerous thriller/mysteries set in the world of art and antiquities, but this one is different. The meaning of Tarot as a tool of divination, beginning in early Renaissance Italy is the subject of study for the protagonist and the archivists, scholars and dealers she encounters as she begins a life as a researcher at a branch of the Met in New York City. Working with a personal cache of papers produced by her father before his death she dives into the murky waters of academic politics, jealousy, ambition and revenge. She feels unready for the challenge but it emerges that she is more than capable of holding her own against deeply entrenched tribalism.


Employing clear prose and evocative descriptions the author spins a tale of passion, intrigue and murder that will keep the reader turning pages throughout. The details of works of art and historic manuscripts add flavor and verisimilitude to the narrative and adorn the plot with fascinating insights into Renaissance culture. The intimate look into the workings of a major city museum collection of such material is also enlightening and adds color. Altogether it paints a rich picture that is satisfying on several levels, not least of which is the thriller factor.


This first novel gives promise of more and better to come, and this reader looks forward to more sinister machinations in future works. There is significant industry buzz about both book and author.