A whodunit features a homicidal painter in present-day Denver.
Lily Sparks, once a lawyer, has reinvented herself as the conservator of paintings at the Denver Art Museum, where she is renowned for being able to spot a forgery. George Kurtz, a very wealthy patron of the museum, has been brutally murdered, his corpse arranged in a sick homage to impressionist Gustave Caillebotte’s Fields of the Gennevilliers Plain, No. Seven. Enter hunky FBI agent Paul Riley. He and Lily were lovers a decade ago, and the flame still burns. Then there are Lily’s assistant, Amy; Lily’s professional rival, Gina Wheelock; Dave Byers, an experienced docent; and Nick Lang, whom everyone is a bit suspicious of, but that doesn’t stop Lily from sleeping with him. Throw in Lily’s widowed father, Harry Sparks, and that about rounds out the important cast. Kane (Seeds of Doubt, 2004, etc.) is an experienced—and lauded—thriller writer, and it shows. Her bad guy truly is a sicko. Some chilling chapters are told from the killer’s point of view, but of course he is not identified—not an original ploy but effective. So the drama builds, along with Lily’s and Paul’s tortured feelings for each other and their requisite misunderstandings. Has Paul sold out? Why is Nick so cagey? How many people hated Kurtz, and why? There is some clever misdirection in these pages. As a bonus, the audience gets quite an introduction to art appreciation, particularly from a conservator’s point of view. Add in the traditional scary chases toward the end—Lily becoming cornered, fighting an unknown assailant in the dark, and feeling unsure whom to trust—and readers have a truly classic thriller. An added, traditional fillip is that the killer has many more on his list, supercharging the race against time. How satisfying is the final reveal? Well, that will be up to each reader.
An artistic thriller that will keep readers guessing and please the author’s fans.