The Madison Picker

The Picker Series

Fiction - Cultural
290 Pages
Reviewed on 02/07/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Mark Clay Grove is a second generation antiques dealer with four decades of experience in the trenches. Over the years he has owned and operated a large antiques shop and an antiques mall, traveled from New York City to Nashville selling his wares at antiques shows, sold stuff on eBay, and taught appraisal report-writing for NYU. Still, he maintains a practice as an accredited appraiser as he writes fiction for the fun of it and appears regularly on the PBS TV show, The Chesapeake Collectibles. Always an avid reader, restless writer, and a kind gentleman with dual nationality (US/UK), he strives for perfection and insists on living by a code of honor that values integrity, fidelity, and fairness for all. Mark divides his time between homes in Fairfax and Charlottesville, Virginia, with his Peruvian wife, Chany. They travel extensively for business and pleasure. His professional website is mgrove dot-com. Polite emails are answered as soon as possible.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Madison Picker is a biographical novel written by Mark Clay Grove. A picker has exhaustive knowledge of antiques and collectibles. Charles and his wife, Emma, are pickers who are setting off in a new direction. They're selling the buildings housing the stores they own; a move made in anticipation of an increasingly hard market for their goods. The reader gets to watch as the two travel around, stopping at small shops, yard sales and antiques emporiums. Charles is a divvy, which helps a lot. When something rare and precious is nearby, his fingers start to tremble. This phenomenon is known to his friends and competitors, and frequently he'll hide those fingers in his pockets to keep the others unaware of lurking treasure. Fans of The Antiques Roadshow and Jonathan Gash's Lovejoy series will appreciate this book, which is crammed with details of antiques, history, and the art of collecting.

Mark Clay Grove's The Madison Picker made me want to go out thrift shop hunting and start reading up on collectibles and antiques. While Charles, the narrator, makes it clear that there's years of experience and study behind his lucky finds, it's still mighty tempting to imagine finding a priceless piece of art deco jewelry or a firescreen worth thousands of dollars sitting unrecognized, and selling dirt-cheap. Grove's characters and their joy in plying their trade are quite infectious, and their travels make the deep South come alive. And it's not all road trips and dusty stores - Charles and Emma's trip to Key West finds him tackling the mighty bonefish in a thoroughly enjoyable segment. Grove's The Madison Picker entertains while it educates, and I'm looking forward to the further adventures of Charles and Emma.