Still Lives by Maria Hummel

I’ve had great luck with previous picks in the Reese Witherspoon book club, but for me this one fell short of my expectations.

We follow the perspective of Maggie, an art editor at an LA art gallery, and the story commences on the night of the opening of the exhibit Still Lives. The exhibit is quirky and unique, a series of paintings depicting famous female murder victims (though painted with Lord herself in the place of the actual victim… a truely bizarre concept!) The artist, Kim Lord, goes missing and Maggie is thrust into following this case as Lord was dating Maggie’s ex-boyfriend. The story then progresses as we follow Maggie in her pursuit of solving the disappearance.

I found the start of this novel very strong and I enjoyed the fast paced, unique art-world setting (much more readily than I had with Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch!).  However, I felt that the pacing dropped considerably as we progressed into Maggie’s search, and I just didn’t feel compelled or engaged enough in the narrative to enjoy it. I resisted the urge to DNF around the half way mark, purely because I thought the concept of the disappearance was intriguing and I wanted closure!

I wasn’t particularly wowed by the ending and think the story would have benefited from brevity in the investigation stage. Overall this was an average read for me, I’m perhaps missing the hype that others have found in this book. If you’ve read it, let me know your thoughts below.

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