Kim Lord’s face looked back at me, disguised in paint and the features of a murdered woman.
Revered artist Kim Lord is about to unveil her most shocking show yet: Still Lives, a series of self-portraits in which she impersonates the female victims of America’s most famous homicides, from Nicole Brown Simpson to the Black Dahlia.
As celebrities and rich patrons pour into L.A.’s Rocque Museum for the opening night, the attendees wait eagerly for Kim’s arrival. All except Maggie Richter, museum editor and ex-girlfriend of Greg Shaw Ferguson, Kim’s new boyfriend. But Kim never shows up to her party and the crowd’s impatience slowly turns to unease.
When Greg is arrested on suspicion of murder, it seems that life is imitating art. Has Kim suffered the same fate as the women in her paintings? As Maggie is drawn into an investigation of her own, she uncovers dark and deadly truths that will change her life forever…
Still Lives is a quietly observant, beautifully written noir mystery, set against the backdrop of the LA art world, the glitz and the politics and the dark dark heart lurking underneath it all.
Leading us through this landscape is Maggie, left drifting through this world after a relationship break up – Her ex is now involved with edgy, current artist Kim Lord, a shadowy figure throughout most of the narrative, yet the reason for it, whose disappearance on the opening night of her new show sends shockwaves through Maggie’s life of melancholy.
The descriptive prose is wonderful, the themes explored thought provoking and deeply moving- Kim’s new collection focuses on murdered women and there is a strong emotional core here that I can’t really describe but that speaks volumes.
As Maggie slowly comes to the truth about Kim, about those around her and more reflectively about herself, it is electrifying and addictive, a slow burner that ignites towards the end with a beautifully placed finale. The sense of place is magnetic, the characters realistically imagined and I was fascinated from start to finish.
Loved this. Complex and emotionally raw, Still Lives comes highly recommended from me.