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Arts & Culture
There are one million new books published each year. With so many books and so little time, where do you begin to find your next must-read? There’s the New York Times Bestseller list, the Goodreads app, the Cape Library’s Staff picks shelf and now Martin’s Must-Reads.Every Wednesday at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m., and Sunday at 8:18 a.m., Betty Martin recommends a must read based on her own personal biases for historical fiction, quirky characters and overall well-turned phrases. Her list includes WWII novels, biographies of trailblazers, novels with truly unique individuals and lots more. Reading close to 100 titles a year, Betty has plenty of titles to share.Local support for "Martin's Must Reads" comes from the Cape Girardeau Public Library and the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library.

Martin Must Reads: 'Pretty Things'

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“I’ve never done a job like this. I’ve never moved so fully into someone’s life, infiltrated their home and coerced them to be my friend. Most of my cons have taken place in the dark, under the cover of intoxication: parties nightclubs, hotel bars.”

I’m Betty Martin and that’s a quote from Janelle Brown’s novel Pretty Things. The speaker, Nina, is a grifter. She stalks the ultra-rich on social media where they post photos of all their pretty things, devises a plan to access their collections and then steals from them. Her rules are “ Don’t take too much; don’t get greedy. Take only what won’t be missed. And only steal from those who can afford it.”

The haul from the beginning of the book is big enough that she is confident she can give up grifting, but then her mother tells her her cancer has returned and she needs a half million dollars for additional treatments.

Her mother reminds her of  a home that keeps a million dollars in cash in their safe...a home at Lake Tahoe where Nina and her mother lived for one year. A home where Nina’s high school boyfriend  and his social influencer sister Vanessa lived.

When Vanessa’s engagement is called off, she moves back to the Lake Tahoe home. With both her parents dead and her brother in a mental institution suffering from schizophrenia she is very lonely. That is until Nina and her partner in crime, Lachlan, arrive incognito to befriend Vanessa, case the joint, and steal the cash in the safe and  some of the antiques that inhabit every room in the castle. 

If you want to find out what happens when a con is conned then you must read Pretty Things by Janelle Brown.

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