Art Kills

Art Kills

3.0 1
by Eric Van Lustbader
     
 

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Art is having a wild affair with murder in this breathtaking, inventive tale from the best-selling author of the exotic White Ninja and chilling Second Skin. Racing from the marbled precincts of New York's uptown museum scene to the fashionable galleries and lofts of Soho to a gated Mafia mansion on the platinum coast of Long Island, at top speed this Lustbader

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Overview

Art is having a wild affair with murder in this breathtaking, inventive tale from the best-selling author of the exotic White Ninja and chilling Second Skin. Racing from the marbled precincts of New York's uptown museum scene to the fashionable galleries and lofts of Soho to a gated Mafia mansion on the platinum coast of Long Island, at top speed this Lustbader novella takes appraiser Tess Chase, a no-nonsense woman with a taste for martial as well as fine arts, in pursuit of a long-lost painting by the Renaissance master Raphael. It also entangles her in a case of deadly sibling rivalry between the heirs to the empire of the East Coast crime boss Rocco Bravanno as it divides Tess's loyalties between the handsome, charismatic Anthony and his stunning sister, Jackie, both of whom come by their lust for art and palate for murder naturally. Uncovering a web of conspiracy and shifting alliances, Tess strives both to rescue the painting from its abductors and to save the passionately unhappy Jackie from a miserable marriage to a man with betrayal in his blood. More than a Raphael is at stake in this murderous tale of envy and revenge. Only Tess has yet to learn who the real traitor is. And ignorance is not bliss.

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Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The pursuit of a long-lost Raphael painting pits art appraiser Tess Chase against two siblings whose lust for art -- and murder -- comes naturally.
Publishers Weekly
Tess Chase is into the arts fine and martial as the heroine of this slender, mildly diverting thriller, in which the allegedly genteel milieu of art dealing intersects with the sleazy world of a notorious New York crime family. When a car deliberately hits and kills Howard Lenz, "a dodgy little art dealer," on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue across from the (fictitious) Empire State Museum of Art, art consultant Tess witnesses the crime. She follows the man who steals Lenz's blood-stained briefcase and discovers it contains a Raphael that was only rumored to exist. The priceless painting is being fought over by warring factions of the Bravanno crime family, one led by the urbane, ruthless Richard Sanborne (who married Jacqueline Bravanno, a Mafia daughter), the other by Antony Bravanno, Jacqueline's estranged brother. Tess finds herself in the middle of a plot that's too complex to unfold seamlessly in a mere 80 pages. She's a great concept for a heroine an intelligent, sophisticated woman who's not afraid of violent confrontation but she remains a concept. Lustbader's attempts to render her humanity seem contrived (as does Tess's short, bittersweet romance with Jacqueline). Similarly, most of the minor characters, such as the Mafiosi lieutenants, are crude, familiar caricatures of their type. Though the prose is at times vivid, nothing is as fully developed as it should be, and the ending feels forced. The book reads as if it were a treatment for a movie, lacking the dramatic unity that would make it a truly satisfying short work. (Jan. 4) Forecast: With rights sold to Britain, France, Germany and Japan, as well as Lustbader's high name recognition, expect initial strong sales, but be preparedfor a sudden falling off once readers realize this isn't up to the level of other titles in this quality novella series. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This patchy, illogical, curiously unmelodramatic novella sits art forgery expert Tess Chase down at a cafe across from the Empire State Museum of Art just as Howard Lenz leaves the building to become a hit-and-run victim, and a thin man with an El Greco face scoops up his briefcase and takes off. Tess follows him, of course, watches him die as well, bashes his murderer, and snatches up that briefcase, which turns out to contain a Raphael painting. Wait, there's more: Two goons arrive and escort Tess and the painting to the Bravanno compound on Long Island, where she and the beauteous Jacqueline exchange sultry glances while the lady's husband appropriates the paintings and spews lies. Back in the city, Jacqueline's brother turns up to enlist Tess in his battle for the Raphael. But Tess retreats to the Island, where soon she and Jacqueline are sprawled across lust-heated sheets. A swap of the painting for megabucks is arranged, but a double-crosser is on hand in Central Park to kill a couple of the participants before Tess is rescued by the feds and the tale screeches to a halt-along with any trace of common sense. The principal joy of reading Lustbader is in seeing how over-the-top he goes. Alas, here he gives his imagination, his kinkiness, his purple-prose bravura a day off. There's not even enough excitement to generate a really big yawn.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786708895
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/28/2002
Pages:
80
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 7.95(h) x 0.69(d)

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