Leo Van Meegeren
Leo is a young New York artist who has just got out of Rikers prison. Before being incarcerated, Leo was an art forger : he can execute copies of Pisssaro, Renoir, Van Gogh and Matisse that are just as good as the originals.
On his release, Leo tries to return peacefully to his life in a New York loft – but that is without taking into account one of his old clients, a wealthy collector whom Leo scammed and who is now determined to make him pay…
Leo has a sister, Kitty, and a young nephew, Tim.
Lorraine, 35, a Parisian who is a partner of advertising agency DB & S. She has just been promoted to director of the new New York branch.
Twenty-eight years earlier, she lost her father, a famous gallery owner in Manhattan who was gunned down in the street by an unknown person, never identified. Lorraine wants to buy at auction the famous painting The Watchman by Victor Czartoryski, which her father had once exhibited in his gallery.
Lorraine has begun receiving messages from an enigmatic individual who claims to be her father’s murderer and who declares he wants to kill her too.
Lorraine has a younger brother, Dimitri. She is very close to the two agency directors of which she is a partner: the two Pauls, Paul-Henry Salomé and Paul Bougine.
After being released from prison, Leo decides to adopt a cocker spaniel whom he names… “the dog”.
Leo saw there were dozens of breeds. The place was immense and windowless, lit by neon lights. “Do you want a big or small dog?” asked the young man as he advanced along the alleys.
The animals started to get agitated, walking up and down, aroused by this human presence.
“Not too big, not too small.”
“Um… what colour?”
“Any colour will do… one with hair.”
“Uh-huh… dogs generally have hair.”
“I’m joking,” said Leo.
“That one, there,” Leo said suddenly.
(…) Leo felt a moment of pity for all the ugly dogs who would not be adopted and he almost decided to change his mind and go for the ugliest specimen in the refuge. But already the little animal, with its brown and tan coat, had run over and, drawn up on his short back legs, was now clawing at the pane as he gazed lovingly at Leo, his mouth open and his tongue lolling. It was as though he were smiling.
“You have a match,” said the young man.
Zach is an old friend of Leo’s who owns the “55” art gallery in the heart of Manhattan. Zach is very tall – 6 foot 4 – has a lock of blond hair and wears over-the-top gold-rimmed glasses.
He accompanies Leo to Laurie’s where the auction of Victor Czartoryski’s The Watchman takes place.
Gonzalo, known as Gonzo, was for 10 years a member of the Navy SEALs, one of the most feared special operations in the world whose motto is “The only easy day was yesterday.”
Back in civilian life again, Gonzo has found a new career as limousine driver. He and his friend Leo enjoy going to “Trevor Boxing”, a boxing club.