"It’s a thrilling mystery that will leave you wondering which characters you can and can’t trust... There’s a twist at the end that still keeps us up at night, it's THAT good." —Reese Witherspoon (A Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine Selection)
A REESE'S BOOK CLUB x HELLO SUNSHINE Selection
A BOOK OF THE MONTH Selection
An Amazon Best Mystery/Thriller of the Year
1 of 22 New Books to Read This Summer (TIME)
1 of 20 New Books to Read in June (Entertainment Weekly)
1 of 30 Exciting New Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List (Buzzfeed)
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 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 on 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 often fetishizes violence, 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.
"A suspenseful, splashy story about fame, sex, and how our culture views women’s bodies . . . I also loved that it tackled the sticky subject of how women are portrayed in art, culture, and the media—and the consequences of those portrayals. This is a thrilling book, and a much-needed one. Read it and you’ll see what I mean." —Book of the Month
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
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.
And the author has no ear for dialogue.