Author: Maria Hummel
Publisher: Quercus Books
Published: 1st November 2018
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
A young editor at a Los Angeles art museum finds herself pulled into the disturbing and dangerous world of a famous artist who goes missing on the opening night of her exhibition
Kim Lord is an avant garde figure, feminist icon, and agent provocateur in the L.A. art scene. Her groundbreaking new exhibition Still Lives is comprised of self-portraits depicting herself as famous, murdered women—the Black Dahlia, Chandra Levy, Nicole Brown Simpson, among many others—and the works are as compelling as they are disturbing, implicating a culture that is too accustomed to violence against women.
As the city’s richest art patrons pour into the Rocque Museum’s opening night, all of the staff, including editor Maggie Richter, hope the event will be enough to save the historic institution’s flailing finances.
Except Kim Lord never shows up to her own gala.
Fear mounts as the hours and days drag on and Lord remains missing. Suspicion falls upon the up-and-coming gallerist Greg Shaw Ferguson, who happens to be Maggie’s ex. A rogue’s gallery of eccentric art world figures could also have motive for the act, and as Maggie gets drawn into her own investigation of Lord’s disappearance, she’ll come to suspect all of those closest to her.
Set against a culture that too often fetishizes violence against women, Still Lives is a page-turning exodus into the art world’s hall of mirrors, and one woman’s journey into the belly of an industry flooded with money and secrets.
So I haven’t quite finished reading this book but I thought I would let you know my feelings on what I have read so far. The story is told from our narrator Maggie, she is working in the Rocque Museum as an editor and they are about to exhibit a collection of art by Kim Lord. Kim Lord is quite well loved in the art world and her latest exhibit is to be her most controversial yet, she has decided to paint female victims that have been murdered in Los Angeles.
The opening night of the exhibit seems to be a success with anybody and everybody there except the star herself, Kim Lord. No one has been able to get hold of her and Maggie thinks it may just be another publicity stunt from the artist, yet the next day cops and investigators start prowling around the museum and asking questions. However, Maggie seems to have got pulled into a little investigation of her own with a journalist that was at the opening night.
I am really liking this so far, the writing is really easy to follow and the pace is just right. The world of art is not something I am familiar with so it’s nice to get an idea of the set up of the museum and how its run The descriptive writing of the art that is being displayed is really good and you can visualise these paintings. There does seem to be quite a few characters at the moment and I am not sure if all of them are necessary but it definitely makes me aware of how many people are needed to run a successful museum. I am not too sure about Maggie as of yet, she seems like a level headed woman but nothing has stood out as of yet.
This is definitely worth a shot if you like mystery/thriller books, however I think this is more in the literary thriller genre. I will be having a look at some of the other Reese Witherspoon books that she has in her collection.
Here is a list of all the other blogs where you can read more reviews about this book which is happening till Thursday, so do check them out.
Maria Hummel is the author of Motherland, a San Francisco Chronicle Book of the year. She has worked as a writer/editor at MOCA in Los Angeles, then received a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Maria is currently an assistant professor at Vermont, where she lives with her Husband and sons.
Thanks for reading