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The Brutal Art

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A tenant has disappeared in a New York slum, leaving behind strange, original artwork. Gallery owner Ethan Muller can see its brilliance—and money-making potential. When Ethan displays the art, the show attracts the attention of the police. Because the subjects of the pictures look exactly like the victims in a long-cold murder case. Ethan has received a letter saying stop A tenant has disappeared in a New York slum, leaving behind strange, original artwork. Gallery owner Ethan Muller can see its brilliance—and money-making potential. When Ethan displays the art, the show attracts the attention of the police. Because the subjects of the pictures look exactly like the victims in a long-cold murder case. Ethan has received a letter saying stop, stop, stop. And the still-missing genius may be the link to a madman—or the madman himself.


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A tenant has disappeared in a New York slum, leaving behind strange, original artwork. Gallery owner Ethan Muller can see its brilliance—and money-making potential. When Ethan displays the art, the show attracts the attention of the police. Because the subjects of the pictures look exactly like the victims in a long-cold murder case. Ethan has received a letter saying stop A tenant has disappeared in a New York slum, leaving behind strange, original artwork. Gallery owner Ethan Muller can see its brilliance—and money-making potential. When Ethan displays the art, the show attracts the attention of the police. Because the subjects of the pictures look exactly like the victims in a long-cold murder case. Ethan has received a letter saying stop, stop, stop. And the still-missing genius may be the link to a madman—or the madman himself.

30 review for The Brutal Art

  1. 5 out of 5

    Arielle

    It's always fun to read books set in the art world. So much is recognisable, but always in caricature, and this one was a pretty good one. I did think that the main character/narrator was kind of a prick, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment at all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Caro the Helmet Lady

    This was surprisingly and really good, especially for the randomly picked book that I didn't even intend to read. But I checked first ten pages and I was sucked in. A page turner, it's what it was. It was just so well written. The story includes many seemingly uncombinable subjects, such as art and art selling business, family secrets, madness, a hunt for a pedophile, daddy issues, and some other things, more or less. The intrigue was well twisted. At the same time it managed to be witty and funn This was surprisingly and really good, especially for the randomly picked book that I didn't even intend to read. But I checked first ten pages and I was sucked in. A page turner, it's what it was. It was just so well written. The story includes many seemingly uncombinable subjects, such as art and art selling business, family secrets, madness, a hunt for a pedophile, daddy issues, and some other things, more or less. The intrigue was well twisted. At the same time it managed to be witty and funny. Although funny was a bit of confusing at times, for my tastes. And I'm not even sure if it's more of a crime story or family drama, because it all works for a mix well shaken. Almost perfect one night stand weekend read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)

    Author: Jesse Kellerman Published: 2008 Recommended for: fans of crime fiction This book took me a little while to get into it and understand it, but once I did I was hooked on it! I haven't read a book by Jesse Kellerman before or his parents so I was new to his style of writing but it certainly kept my attention throughout the book and it is one that does stick in your mind. The pace of the book is kept up throughout it doesn't have a lull in it where you think if you should continue with it or Author: Jesse Kellerman Published: 2008 Recommended for: fans of crime fiction This book took me a little while to get into it and understand it, but once I did I was hooked on it! I haven't read a book by Jesse Kellerman before or his parents so I was new to his style of writing but it certainly kept my attention throughout the book and it is one that does stick in your mind. The pace of the book is kept up throughout it doesn't have a lull in it where you think if you should continue with it or not. It does contain alot of unexpected twists and turns which keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing. Even though this book contains two stories that at first seem seperate end up twisting together nicely at the very end, you have the story of Ethan Muller who is an art dealer and then you also have the story of Victor Cracke, who is one of the most essential characters in the book. The way that Jesse Kellerman has described the characters gies you a real sense of who they are, they have alot of depth too them which draws the reader in as it makes the characters seem real. It is excellently written and one that I would happily read again and again. I am glad that I stumbled across this book and I would definately recommend people to read this book!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Baba

    Ethan Muller is put in charge of a collection... did I say a collection, more like a mountain of same sides pieces of art, when it suddenly dawns on him, that the 1000s of pieces, make up a an immeasurable sized single piece of art! Investigating the missing artist and the artwork itself reveals darkness and abuse inside and outside the Mueller family. A purposeful and confident mystery crime thriller saga, spanning four decades and also the entire family history of the now rich Mueller family, f Ethan Muller is put in charge of a collection... did I say a collection, more like a mountain of same sides pieces of art, when it suddenly dawns on him, that the 1000s of pieces, make up a an immeasurable sized single piece of art! Investigating the missing artist and the artwork itself reveals darkness and abuse inside and outside the Mueller family. A purposeful and confident mystery crime thriller saga, spanning four decades and also the entire family history of the now rich Mueller family, from their immigration from Germany to the current time. The book is primarily set in New York, and around modern art! A pretty good read that gets into the underbelly of secrets and lies.... otherwise know as family. A book that I had to immediately reread, after uploading the earlier version of this review . A strong 8 out of 12, Four Star read status.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laura T

    THIS is a great book. I grabbed it randomly off the shelf at the library, pushing the stroller with my two year old inside, just grabbing stuff so I could get out of there before the baby got cranky and hoping for the best. Which--crazily enough--I got. This book is about the art world, which I know nothing about, so I was concerned, but I had no reason to be. Jesse Kellerman does a beautiful job explaining, but not over explaining. The characters in this book are extremely well drawn, the dialo THIS is a great book. I grabbed it randomly off the shelf at the library, pushing the stroller with my two year old inside, just grabbing stuff so I could get out of there before the baby got cranky and hoping for the best. Which--crazily enough--I got. This book is about the art world, which I know nothing about, so I was concerned, but I had no reason to be. Jesse Kellerman does a beautiful job explaining, but not over explaining. The characters in this book are extremely well drawn, the dialogue is refreshingly real...my one and only complaint is that in much of the dialogue, questions are asked, but no question marks are used. The questions are used as statements. I would have no problem with that if it was one character with that sort of speech pattern, but it's all of them. In my experience, there are SOME people who talk like that, but certainly not everyone I know. Other than that very small thing, I LOVED this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ian Mapp

    My advice to anyone reading this is to concentrate - especially during the interludes. The inerludes kind of ruin the book as a narrative structure but are used in a hamfisted fashion by the author to explain the backstory. Its a shame - as most of the book plays with the form of a detective novel and is told in the first person - with the art dealer Ethan Muller talking directly to the reader and explaining why he isnt exaggerating and why the usual forms of a detective thriller (murders, chases, My advice to anyone reading this is to concentrate - especially during the interludes. The inerludes kind of ruin the book as a narrative structure but are used in a hamfisted fashion by the author to explain the backstory. Its a shame - as most of the book plays with the form of a detective novel and is told in the first person - with the art dealer Ethan Muller talking directly to the reader and explaining why he isnt exaggerating and why the usual forms of a detective thriller (murders, chases, etc) are not present in the book. Then there are these interludes telling the backstory of the family. They give the appearance of being tacked on to move things along. You do need to pay attention, even though they dont work, as the books secrets and histories are revealed through characters that you dont really know, as they are not in the main of the story. The story is decent enough - art dealer finds a collection of drawings that form a massive tapestry of an imagined world. The artist lives in one of his fathers rented apartments - so he takes them and sells them. It then is revealed that some of the people in the drawings are child murder victims from the 50s and 60s. Through the interludes, it is revealed as to who the artist is and how his life is entangled with Ethans. Plenty of promise but the book ranged for me from really holding my attention, to me admiring how the stories came together but ultimately not quite liking the style. Would definately read more of the author.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Noel G

    Well i was torn between a 3 and a 4 star for this one. In fact whilst writing this i have changed it to a 4! Very in depth and strange plot but i have to admit that i was gripped by the strangeness. Not so sure about the style of writing but it allow some of the mystery to be slowly released without cluttering up one chapter with different times in the past, which may become confusing. As detective stories go it was entertaining, if a little predictable. I in fact had pre-empted the twist about ha Well i was torn between a 3 and a 4 star for this one. In fact whilst writing this i have changed it to a 4! Very in depth and strange plot but i have to admit that i was gripped by the strangeness. Not so sure about the style of writing but it allow some of the mystery to be slowly released without cluttering up one chapter with different times in the past, which may become confusing. As detective stories go it was entertaining, if a little predictable. I in fact had pre-empted the twist about halfway through. But i still kept reading and it didnt detract from my enjoyment too much at all. I still would have preferred a bit more at the end to close the story off better but all in all it was a good read, but i couldnt say it's necessarily one that i would read again and again.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    Look I am a Kellerman fan, loved his mum's writing and his dad's so I knew it would be worth the read and I don't think I was wrong. The plot was great and the ending even better

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lance Greenfield

    Original, but hardly compelling This book is very difficult for me to discuss, as I am still not sure whether I like it or not. At times the writing is great, and I cannot wait to find out what happens next. At other times, I found myself saying, "Well, that's totally ridiculous!" and laying the book to one side until I could return with a little more enthusiasm. There are a few intriguing twists and turns along the way, so one would expect an unpredictable ending. Not so. The last few chapters l Original, but hardly compelling This book is very difficult for me to discuss, as I am still not sure whether I like it or not. At times the writing is great, and I cannot wait to find out what happens next. At other times, I found myself saying, "Well, that's totally ridiculous!" and laying the book to one side until I could return with a little more enthusiasm. There are a few intriguing twists and turns along the way, so one would expect an unpredictable ending. Not so. The last few chapters lead to some fairly predictable conclusions. However, I would still recommend it as light reading, and there is a good story buried within the pages. One thing to look out for though: when you come to the discovery of the drawings, do a quick calculation. How long would it take an artist to draw this number of pieces if he were to produce, say, three per day? These are described as being very detailed works of art, so I could not imagine that the artist could sustain a higher rate of output and have time for any other activities in their life. Look at the number, and work it out for yourself!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    I liked the mystery threaded through this story, I also liked the way the author took us back in time and showed us the Muller family history. Showing the reader where Ethan Muller came from allowed us to better understand his relationship with his family, especially his father. I liked that we got to see a little slice of life from each generation and the supporting characters had the spotlight for a brief period of time. All of the characters were really well imagined and the outcome of the st I liked the mystery threaded through this story, I also liked the way the author took us back in time and showed us the Muller family history. Showing the reader where Ethan Muller came from allowed us to better understand his relationship with his family, especially his father. I liked that we got to see a little slice of life from each generation and the supporting characters had the spotlight for a brief period of time. All of the characters were really well imagined and the outcome of the story was very realistic.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aina

    I picked up this book expecting an art mystery and though there is a fair amount of that, the story is more concerned with character studies than solving the puzzle. The present story of an art dealer who stumbles into a collection of drawings is interspersed with flashbacks of the past, detailing the chronicles of a family and how the ripple effects of one's actions last for generations. Although the flashbacks are compelling, entire histories are crammed in a few chapters so they came across a I picked up this book expecting an art mystery and though there is a fair amount of that, the story is more concerned with character studies than solving the puzzle. The present story of an art dealer who stumbles into a collection of drawings is interspersed with flashbacks of the past, detailing the chronicles of a family and how the ripple effects of one's actions last for generations. Although the flashbacks are compelling, entire histories are crammed in a few chapters so they came across as rushed and less subtle than the chapters set during the present. There are parts where it's difficult to read, concerning child murders and descriptions of abuse that are pretty graphic so fair warning. I didn't really like the main character but I found myself invested in his pursuit of the artist, as well as his relationships with various characters in his life. Although art plays a huge part ultimately this story is about families, expectations, and how children are forced to pay for the sins of their parents. I think a testament to how much I enjoyed the book was when I reached the last sentence and wished there was more.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Nutting

    I read this when it first came out years ago. I remember thinking he wrote even better than his father.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laurel-Rain

    When Ethan Muller, a struggling art dealer, stumbles upon a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a slum building vacated abruptly by an elderly tenant, he almost cannot believe his good luck. The treasure trove of stunning art work is sure to put Ethan in the forefront of the art scene. But what does anyone know about Victor Cracke, except that he came and went in solitude for nearly forty years, his genius hidden and unacknowledged. Soon Ethan is caught up in the middle of a mystery, aided by a reti When Ethan Muller, a struggling art dealer, stumbles upon a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a slum building vacated abruptly by an elderly tenant, he almost cannot believe his good luck. The treasure trove of stunning art work is sure to put Ethan in the forefront of the art scene. But what does anyone know about Victor Cracke, except that he came and went in solitude for nearly forty years, his genius hidden and unacknowledged. Soon Ethan is caught up in the middle of a mystery, aided by a retired police detective, yet before he can make any significant progress at all, the ailing man who was helping him dies. His daughter picks up the search, with Ethan, but their quest for the whereabouts and history of Cracke and the mysterious life he led, take them into some very strange places. Meanwhile, the author presents an "interlude" of stories set from the eighteen-hundreds onward, as he weaves in a mysterious subplot about the Muller family that gradually becomes more and more relevant as the secrets are unveiled. Throughout this tale, too, we are gifted with glimpses of the cutthroat art scene and how the players twist and turn, from clamoring for the work of the hungry artists to lambasting them when the tides turn. "The Genius" kept me guessing all the way through until, finally, we have that "a-ha!" moment when everything starts to make sense. I am giving this book five stars for the clever plot, the intriguing presentation, and this author's unique voice.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. You know, it kind of surprises me that this book has such a low average rating. I will admit I haven't read any of Jesse Kellerman's other stuff, and haven't read most of the stuff by the rest of his family either. But I really enjoyed this novel. It wasn't really a thriller, and it was sort of incidentally a murder mystery. But it was a great mystery in general, and the story was enthralling. I thought so anyway. The way it slowly unfolded really had me guessing. I guessed that all sorts of peop You know, it kind of surprises me that this book has such a low average rating. I will admit I haven't read any of Jesse Kellerman's other stuff, and haven't read most of the stuff by the rest of his family either. But I really enjoyed this novel. It wasn't really a thriller, and it was sort of incidentally a murder mystery. But it was a great mystery in general, and the story was enthralling. I thought so anyway. The way it slowly unfolded really had me guessing. I guessed that all sorts of people would turn out to be the person threatening Ethan. I suspected, at various times: -Samantha -Tony Wexler -Ethan's dad -Victor Cracke -Samantha's dad -Marylin Of course I was way off, and the guy who turned out to be the stalker/attacker wasn't anyone important in the story. But I liked that I had no clue. I was also relieved when Victor turned out not to be the murderer. The guy himself was pretty creepy. I love the idea of decades-old serial killing crimes being solved. The idea of those Cracke drawings ending up on eBay was quite amusing to me, esp. after Ethan's dad had paid millions to get the drawings back from Hollister. Anyway...basically, I thought this was great, and maybe it didn't have a dramatic ending...but I don't think it was ever meant to. Plus, the writing in general was impeccable. I've moved onto another book whose writing just can't compare, and I'm finding myself disappointed. ;)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    This was an amazingly intriguing and entertaining novel. Ethan Muller, the main character in this story begins his narrative by introducing this account as a detective story and in a way it is but only in the sense that everyone’s life is a detective story. Admittedly, most lives are not as complex or as privileged as Ethan’s but everyone’s life is just as influenced by fate and chance and we find that his attempts to exercise control are no more successful than anyone else. History and forbeare This was an amazingly intriguing and entertaining novel. Ethan Muller, the main character in this story begins his narrative by introducing this account as a detective story and in a way it is but only in the sense that everyone’s life is a detective story. Admittedly, most lives are not as complex or as privileged as Ethan’s but everyone’s life is just as influenced by fate and chance and we find that his attempts to exercise control are no more successful than anyone else. History and forbearers created him and he can only work within that blueprint. He gives us hilarious insight into the modern New York art scene and gallery world and in the process reveals the motives and hubris of those with more wealth than common sense. As readers, we also soon find ourselves privy to historical influences and knowledge that the often unhappy Ethan will never know. The imagery of an earlier time sometimes conjurers up the opulent scenes of nineteenth century wealth and manners displayed in the film “Swan in Love” and the foreboding of upcoming tragedy that Gunter Grass brings out in “The Tin Drum”. “The Genius” is quite different from the first two Kellerman novels that I read but his compelling characters and creative plot won’t allow you to put it down.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laren

    A man goes missing and the landlord discovers an enormous amount of artwork left behind in his apartment. These drawings are given to our protagonist, an art dealer, who introduces them to the world. But no sooner does the buzz start than he is contacted by a retired police officer who feels the art has a connection to a series of unsolved child murders. He tries to solve the mystery while learning more about his own family history and connection to the drawings. Jesse Kellerman doesn't really wr A man goes missing and the landlord discovers an enormous amount of artwork left behind in his apartment. These drawings are given to our protagonist, an art dealer, who introduces them to the world. But no sooner does the buzz start than he is contacted by a retired police officer who feels the art has a connection to a series of unsolved child murders. He tries to solve the mystery while learning more about his own family history and connection to the drawings. Jesse Kellerman doesn't really write mysteries. He writes novels about characters at a crossroads in their lives who happen across a mystery as the central theme. But the real enjoyment comes from the character development and the journey the main character takes to get to the end of the novel. This book alternates between our main character and the history of his family, and it comes together nicely at the end for the reader, although it is tied up less nicely for the main character who doesn't end up privy to all the reader learns.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gae-Lynn Woods

    I got home with this audiobook and was disappointed: when I picked it up, I thought I was getting a Jonathan Kellerman, not a Jesse Kellerman. I'd read one of Jesse's earlier works and didn't want to try again. However, I stuck a CD in the player and was sucked into a story that held me captive. Part of my fascination was the reader's voice - he does a great job of portraying Ethan Muller and the other characters. But the voice can do no more than deliver the story. Jesse Kellerman does a wonderf I got home with this audiobook and was disappointed: when I picked it up, I thought I was getting a Jonathan Kellerman, not a Jesse Kellerman. I'd read one of Jesse's earlier works and didn't want to try again. However, I stuck a CD in the player and was sucked into a story that held me captive. Part of my fascination was the reader's voice - he does a great job of portraying Ethan Muller and the other characters. But the voice can do no more than deliver the story. Jesse Kellerman does a wonderful job of building character, setting scene, and providing the kind of detail that keeps you listening / reading, wanting to know more. He weaves a story of family tragedy that comes together gently, creating a world that is recognizable and a series of events that are believable. For me, the measure of success for a book is how long the story and characters linger in my thoughts. I think Ethan and Victor will be around for a while. I won't hesitate to pick up a book by Jesse Kellerman again.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Candace

    I have liked Jesse Kellerman's work in the past. As a matter of fact, this whole family (the Kellerman's) have put out some very good pieces of fiction. This book was very bleak and drawn out though. The book opens with "In the beginning, I behaved badly." I think I started the book twice becuase I was unsure of how that was going to start the book off. I think that statement sets up the atmosphere for the fact that not all of the characters are very likeable, but I can live with that. Anyway, as I have liked Jesse Kellerman's work in the past. As a matter of fact, this whole family (the Kellerman's) have put out some very good pieces of fiction. This book was very bleak and drawn out though. The book opens with "In the beginning, I behaved badly." I think I started the book twice becuase I was unsure of how that was going to start the book off. I think that statement sets up the atmosphere for the fact that not all of the characters are very likeable, but I can live with that. Anyway, as to not give the book away, it is not a book I would have stopped reading in the middle of (I haven't found many that I would do that with), but in my opinion it wasn't one of Jesse Kellerman's finer pieces.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I loved this book. Picked it up in one of our free neighborhood libraries (which I also love) and enjoyed it thoroughly. I looked forward to reading it every night and am sad it's over. I'm a big fan of this author's father (Jonathan Kellerman) and admit that is a reason I gave the book a chance; but I was pleased to discover Jesse is an amazing writer with his own voice and style. I'm excited to read his other novels now - it sounds like they are quite different from each other. This one was set I loved this book. Picked it up in one of our free neighborhood libraries (which I also love) and enjoyed it thoroughly. I looked forward to reading it every night and am sad it's over. I'm a big fan of this author's father (Jonathan Kellerman) and admit that is a reason I gave the book a chance; but I was pleased to discover Jesse is an amazing writer with his own voice and style. I'm excited to read his other novels now - it sounds like they are quite different from each other. This one was set in the world of art dealers and shows, not entirely my scene, but he made it feel real and accessible. Highly recommended to anyone who likes a good mystery with flawed, conflicted characters.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Very promising for the first two-thirds or so, but then starts to prove the adage that it's much harder to finish writing a book than start one. Kellerman's got some interesting things to say about how modern art is evaluated and sold (and skewers the NYC art scene nicely), but the narrative push behind his work peters out at the end. His protagonist even acknowledges as such in what has to be one of the most terribly meta moments I've read in a while, but even that's not enough to save it. A de Very promising for the first two-thirds or so, but then starts to prove the adage that it's much harder to finish writing a book than start one. Kellerman's got some interesting things to say about how modern art is evaluated and sold (and skewers the NYC art scene nicely), but the narrative push behind his work peters out at the end. His protagonist even acknowledges as such in what has to be one of the most terribly meta moments I've read in a while, but even that's not enough to save it. A decent effort, but I wish it had been more.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I really enjoyed the writing throughout this book. The story was interesting and concluded nicely, but it was just too long and wordy. I was torn between giving it 3 or 4 stars but I liked the writing enough to go with 4. I also enjoyed the chapters that went back in time and how it all tied up in the end. I did, however, find the first half of the chapters from the past slightly pointless. I think they could have started a lot later in time. But the story was good and not as predictable as I wa I really enjoyed the writing throughout this book. The story was interesting and concluded nicely, but it was just too long and wordy. I was torn between giving it 3 or 4 stars but I liked the writing enough to go with 4. I also enjoyed the chapters that went back in time and how it all tied up in the end. I did, however, find the first half of the chapters from the past slightly pointless. I think they could have started a lot later in time. But the story was good and not as predictable as I was expecting.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Unique novel for me. Quite hard to pigeon hole it in regards to genre after finishing it. Historical crime novel probably covers it best but there are a lot of other elements to it. I enjoyed the mismatching of genres and the story was interesting right till the end. The ending wasn't what I expected and isn't particularly clever when it's unravelled. There's no big twist but just solid story telling. Worth reading.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Sometimes I find the star-rating difficult. I give this book 4 stars because it was very good rather than "I really liked it". The content was quite stomach-turning so 'liking' it isn't an appropriate word for me in this instance. I enjoyed the way it was written following two periods of history concurrently and found the story-line very engaging.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Pottenger

    I can't remember what bothered me about this one. I do recall that I was disappointed. Jesse Kellerman's first novel, Sunstroke, was so good. Then he came out with Trouble, which was just icky. The Genius disappointed me. I don't think he's writing to his full potential.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rosiemae Burton

    Well written, good plot, a likeable narrator and gave me a good insight into the art world/New York/Germany. I did find the flashbacks a bit confusing at times and would've liked the novel to tie up a few more loose ends but overall, I really enjoyed the book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    Started off promising... but there were a few too many stretches in the plot for it to be even remotely believable.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bcoghill Coghill

    More a novel than a mystery - I was very much engaged. The family flash backs were, at first, annoying but came to fruition at the end of the book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ralph

    It's Child 44 in the modern art Soho world. Just another "popular library" book that was interesting enough to be read through, but not compelling enough to be worth an afterthought.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lynsey Walker

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Some times the gods of picking up a random book from a charity shop book shelf and hoping for the best look down on you and smile, this book was one of those blessings. However only a 3 star blessing as some points were very good and the plot nicely twisting, and some points were just beige, dull, typical thriller fodder beige. This is a great book if you are into your art, in fact I would go as far as to say don't pick it up if you're not interested in, and have limited knowledge of, art from all Some times the gods of picking up a random book from a charity shop book shelf and hoping for the best look down on you and smile, this book was one of those blessings. However only a 3 star blessing as some points were very good and the plot nicely twisting, and some points were just beige, dull, typical thriller fodder beige. This is a great book if you are into your art, in fact I would go as far as to say don't pick it up if you're not interested in, and have limited knowledge of, art from all ages, as artists names are dropped like candy and most of the first part of the book is a chap talking about modern art. I luckily am an art snob and this was the one of the main reasons I picked it up, I get a thrill from a writer who has done his research well and the art references here show that Mr Kellerman did. The book is well written and it keeps you turning the page to find out what is going to happen next, the story is indeed very clever and is very well threaded together using the past flashbacks and the present, kind of like a historical Guy Ritchie film. In fact the reveal behind how all the actual characters were interlinked was very clever and well done and a bit of a 'well now, ok then' moment (although I knew the Dad had something to do with it all from the start). However I hated all the characters, except maybe Marilyn who is life goals. The were all different levels of overbearing, pathetic, abused, letting themselves be abused, self righteous, narcissistic, boring and all of them damaged. I just could not get behind any of them, and the main problem, even though they were all fucking everything up, they all believed they 'were doing the right thing' never have there been 5 more ignorant words in the human language. Even though I wanted them all to just walk off the page this didn't affect my enjoyment of the plot itself. The ending did get a bit generic and a bit typical crime novel basic bitches take with them to the beach to read so that was a bit disappointing, and the writer did seem to try and wrap it all up in a neat bow where he could have been more creative. But hay, it is what it is and to be fair what it is, aint that bad.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marianne Nichols

    What did I think GoodReads? I thought it was just ok. I almost stopped reading around page 50, then I decided to carry on. Ethan Muller is an art dealer with a gallery in New York City. He is from an incredibly monied family, however he is doing well on his own. He receives a phone call one night from his Father's right hand man to come see some art. The artist has apparently disappeared, leaving boxes and boxes of exquisite drawings behind. This begins Ethan's search for the artist and the story. What did I think GoodReads? I thought it was just ok. I almost stopped reading around page 50, then I decided to carry on. Ethan Muller is an art dealer with a gallery in New York City. He is from an incredibly monied family, however he is doing well on his own. He receives a phone call one night from his Father's right hand man to come see some art. The artist has apparently disappeared, leaving boxes and boxes of exquisite drawings behind. This begins Ethan's search for the artist and the story. The tale is part murder mystery, part familial lineage, and part police procedural. The thing that made me only give three stars is the back story of the artist. It was entirely too drug out for me. I could also have done without some of the happenings of Victor Cracke's (artist) life. It felt overly long. I have read two of this authors books written with his father, Jonathan Kellerman. I enjoyed these immensely, and hence the reason I picked this one up from the library. I'm not sure if I will read anymore of Jesse's books.

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