Twelve shocking paintings. Eleven famous murders. One missing artist . . .
A Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine Selection
Kim Lord's groundbreaking new exhibition, Still Lives, features portraits in which she depicts herself as famous murdered women, and the works are as compelling as they are disturbing, implicating a culture that is too accustomed to violence against women. When Lord never shows up to her own gala, editor Maggie Richter gets drawn into her own investigation of Lord's disappearance, fearful that the artist might have met the same fate as the women in her paintings.
"A stunning achievement"—Los Angeles Times
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Art and murder find common ground in Maria Hummel's first-rate thriller about a museum staffer's search for a missing superstar artist whose work focuses on female homicide victims. Hummel's real-world experience working at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles lends authenticity to the novel's deep dive into the city's cliquish, ultra-competitive art scene. But underneath the page-turning suspense, Hummel delivers pointed feminist critiques of pop culture's fetishization of violence against women—and the city’s long history of turning both murderers and victims into stars. Reese Witherspoon, who chose the novel for her book club, calls it “the ultimate mystery set in L.A.”
When artist Kim Lord fails to show up at Los Angeles's Rocque Museum for the gala opening of her show of self-portraits in the guises of famous murdered women such as Nicole Brown Simpson, museum staff editor Maggie Richter, the narrator of this exceptional suspense novel from Hummel (Motherland), gets involved in the subsequent investigation, in which Kim's boyfriend, gallerist Greg Shaw Ferguson Maggie's ex becomes the primary suspect in her disappearance. In her quest for the truth, Maggie must navigate the social and emotional edges of her own relationships, unsure of whom to trust. The careful characterizations of the players in the Rocque's sphere of influence mean that, as the mystery unfolds to reveal them as suspects or victims, the reader feels deep empathy that comes from perceiving them as real people, not plot devices. Hummel builds visceral intimacy around "women's oppressive anxiety about ultimate vulnerability" in this often uncomfortable tale about the media's fetishistic fascination with the violent murders of beautiful women.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Interesting ideas but...
Too much filler and flowery language, so there’s too much time between the interesting parts. I found myself skipping whole paragraphs because of unnecessary descriptions of scenery and metaphors. While the concepts behind the book are intriguing, it ended up just being OK.
My favorite book of 2018
I read.. a lot. I couldn’t put this story down, even reading as I walked the dog. Hummel has managed to combine my favorite subject, the bizarro world of contemporary art, with my favorite genre. This mystery is as compelling and literate as The Goldfinch.
Besides feeling a little smug about having seen all the non fictional art in the book, the characters all had spectacularly different voice and appearance. Now I need to read her other books and hope she is working on a couple new ones right now.