Die in Plain Sight (Rarities Unlimited Series #3)

Die in Plain Sight (Rarities Unlimited Series #3)

3.8 18
by Elizabeth Lowell

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New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell creates another masterpiece of excitement and chills, passion and surprise

Die in Plain Sight

When Lacey Quinn inherits the striking landscapes done by her late, much-loved grandfather, she believes they are as good as anything hanging in museums. But the paintings now in her possession are more than

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New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell creates another masterpiece of excitement and chills, passion and surprise

Die in Plain Sight

When Lacey Quinn inherits the striking landscapes done by her late, much-loved grandfather, she believes they are as good as anything hanging in museums. But the paintings now in her possession are more than the works of a talented master. They are anguished voices from the grave . . . crying murder!

Lacey begins researching her grandfather's past -- and is rocked almost immediately by a strange series of violent events. Someone wants to steal her inheritance, to reduce the paintings to unrecognizable ashes in a suspicious blaze. Someone wants to prevent Lacey from examining her grandfather's work too closely . . . by any means necessary.

Ian Lapstrake, a security specialist, has taken an interest in Lacey's inheritance . . . and in her. Troubled by what he sees, he becomes Lacey's shadow, as her search for answers leads them both down an ever-darkening road paved with lies, blood, and devastating secrets.

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Editorial Reviews

Jayne Ann Krentz
“This author delivers pure, undiluted excitement.”
“Suspenseful . . . engrossing storytelling. An excellent recipe for a thrilling evening.”
Raleigh News & Observer
“A cut above.”
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
“Exotic, erotic . . . fun.”
Publishers Weekly
Heavy on romance and light on mystery, Lowell's latest romantic thriller (after Running Scared), set in the art world, promises fireworks, then fizzles out. Art buyer and struggling southern California artist Lacey Quinn shows a few of her grandfather's paintings to renowned artist Susa Donovan, in the area for a charity event. The paintings are mostly landscapes, but also include a few samples from his dark later work, including detailed depictions of murder and death by fire and drowning. Believing that the landscapes are really the work of famous California plein air painter Lewis Marten, Susa asks Lacey to have them professionally appraised. Lacey resists Susa's pleas, fearing that her grandfather may have been guilty of forgery, but she discovers something far more complicated and horrifying. The murders her grandfather depicted actually took place, and as Lacey digs into her grandfather's past, strangely similar murder attempts and arsons begin cropping up. Her research leads her to Ward Forrest, a financier and real estate mogul who is obsessed with the paintings. In spite of the high-concept plot, most readers will guess the outcome well before the end of the book, and the speed and ease with which Lacey unravels three decades of murder and mayhem defy credibility. The wide array of characters and the engaging lesson on California art are enjoyable, but they can't make up for the lack of suspense. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The third title in Lowell's "Rarities Unlimited" series (which includes 'Moving Target'and 'Running Scared') finds a mix of old and new characters embroiled in the California art scene. Artist Susa Donovan, matriarch of the Seattle Donovans (introduced in another Lowell series that includes Amber Beach and Midnight in Ruby Bayou), comes to Southern California for an exhibit and art auction to benefit a local museum. Her "escort" (read: bodyguard) is Rarities security specialist Ian Lapstrake. Having had a peripheral role in the previous titles, here Ian takes center stage when young artist Lacey Quinn presents her grandfather's plein-air landscapes anonymously for La Susa's evaluation as part of the auction. The next thing we know, arson, art theft, and old murders combine with Ian and Lacey's budding romance. Die isn't one of the author's better novels, though her avid fans won't care. Perhaps La Lowell is growing weary; most of these educated rich folks come off as smarmy and too slick for this reviewer's taste. In the past, her relationships would develop over time, but here our lovers are pretty much picking out China patterns within the first week of meeting. Also, the denouement is too pat and barely explained. Sigh. Maybe Lowell needs to return to her historical tales. Now that's romance. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/03.]-Bette-Lee Fox, "Library Journal" Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Rarities Unlimited Series, #3
Edition description:
First Avon Books Paperback Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.08(d)

Read an Excerpt

Die in Plain Sight LP

By Elizabeth Lowell

Harper Collins Publishers

Copyright © 2003 Elizabeth Lowell All right reserved. ISBN: 0060545461

Chapter One

Pasadena, California January Early Tuesday morning

Lacey Quinn looked around her parents' gracefully remodeled old Pasadena home and gave herself a moment to prepare for the coming storm. Her mother and father were enjoying a sun-dappled weekend brunch in the garden room. Lacey had driven over from the coast and dropped in without warning, figuring it would be easier to tell them that way.

Now she wasn't so sure.

"Remember that art auction benefit for the Friends of Moreno County I mentioned last time I was here?" Lacey asked.

Her mother made a noise that said she was listening despite the boring subject. Although charity benefits were Dottie Quinn's meat and drink, her daughter's relentless interest in art baffled Dottie as much as it irritated her. Except at the very high end of the trade, art was indelibly messy; she preferred life well ordered and tasteful.

"What about it?" her father asked.

Part of Lacey wanted to drop the subject. The rest of her tensed for a fight. "In addition to bringing two of her paintings for a showing, Susa Donovan is going to paint a canvas onstage and then auction it off right there, with the money going to Friends of Moreno County."

Coward, sneered her inner self. You didn't driveall the way from the beach just to announce that.

Brody Quinn grunted, shuffled the legal papers he was reading, and said, "That's nice."

"Nice?" Lacey put her paint-stained hands on her equally paint-stained jeans. "Dad, even postcard-size paintings by La Susa sell for more than a quarter of a million a canvas."

"So she gets a nice write-off giving one to charity," Brody said. "So what?" "In addition to donating the painting," Lacey said through her teeth, "she has generously agreed to look at any old paintings people bring in. Sort of like Antiques Roadshow."

"Clever idea," Dottie said instantly. "Everyone is sure they have a treasure hidden away in the family junk, so there should be a huge turnout and lots of press for the event. Excellent approach. I'll put it to work for my next charity auction. I'll even use the name of your little shop, Lost Treasures Found."

Lacey managed not to wince. Her shop wasn't huge, but it kept her and her partner, Shayla Carlyle, employed and paying taxes while they scoured estate sales and craft fairs both local and distant for stock.

Figuring the conversation no longer needed to include him, Brody went back to the legal brief he was reading.

"The point is," Lacey started, when she got distracted by a lock of her curly hair springing free of the clip she used to tame the chestnut mass. "Damn!" Automatically she jammed curls back in place and reset the clip.

"If you'd just have it cut short and styled, dear, it would be easier to control," Dottie said.

"Then I'd have to do it every few weeks."


"The point is, it only costs twenty dollars a painting to have Susa look at them."

Dottie adjusted to the changed subject without a pause. "Even better. All money donated, yes?"

"Yes, and I'm going to take three paintings in for her to see," Lacey finished in a rush.

"I'm sure she'll be quite kind to you," Dottie said. "After all, she has family of her own, I believe. Didn't High Style magazine mention six children and various grandchildren?"

"Not my own paintings," Lacey said, setting her teeth. "Granddad's."

A legal brief slammed down on the patio table as Brody stood up. The family cat shot out from under Brody's chair and vanished into the lush undergrowth of the garden.

"All over again," Brody said. "From the beginning."

Lacey's chin came up. "You have a good legal mind. Do I really need to repeat it?"

"What you need to do is convince me that I shouldn't - "

"Not again, Dad. We've had this argument so many times we could speak each other's lines. For whatever reasons, you think your father's paintings aren't worth wall space. I do. I think he is - was - " She swallowed. His death two years ago was still fresh for her, still hurtful. Sometimes she still thought she saw him from the corner of her eye or across the street or turning down the aisle of the grocery store. "Grandfather was a very fine artist, equal to if not better than any of the California Plein Air Impressionists that are hanging in museums on both coasts. I believe in him. He believed in me."

"Honey, I'm sure your father - " Dottie began.

Lacey kept talking. "Without my grandfather I'd be trying to be something I'm not, a society woman instead of an artist. I don't ask you to support my choices with money or hugs. But, damn it, don't act like I need your permission, either. He left the paintings to me, not you. He died before I understood how much he meant to me. The least I can do is try to resurrect him from undeserved anonymity as an artist."

"Still dying to do David Quinn: Biography of an Unknown Artist?" Brody asked.

"I want to know where I came from. I love my family, but I don't fit in. My sisters do." She grinned wryly at her mother. "Two out of three ain't bad, right?"

"Lacey," her mother said, hugging her. "We love you."

"And I love both of you," she said, returning the hug. "But that doesn't mean we're the same kind of people. The older I get, the more like myself I get and the less like either of you. Grandpa Rainbow understood that. He understood me at a time when it meant . . . everything. Now I want the world to understand how great he really was...


Excerpted from Die in Plain Sight LP by Elizabeth Lowell
Copyright © 2003 by Elizabeth Lowell
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Jayne Ann Krentz
“This author delivers pure, undiluted excitement.”

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Die in Plain Sight (Rarities Unlimited Series #3) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lacey Quinn has painted all her life ¿ she grew up following in the footsteps of her talented grandfather who served as her mentor and inspiration. Upon his death, she inherits all the beautiful landscapes he had done along with paintings depicting gruesome scenes of murder. As striking and masterful works, David¿s paintings also create quite a stir when Lacey submits three of them to be appraised by renowned artist, Susa Donovan, while at a charity benefit auction.

Ian Lapstrake is taken by Lacey at their first meeting at her shop, Lost Treasures Found ¿ a combination antique store and second hand shop. When he sees Lacey at the benefit, he is even more intrigued when La Susa is certain they have been painted by another artist, causing Lacey to question whether her grandfather was really a forger. And why do these paintings cause the wealthy and influential Forrester family to sit up and take notice of a heretofore-unknown artist? Do they hold the key to three mysterious deaths from over 40 years ago?

Suddenly, Lacey and Ian find themselves barely escaping from the mysterious fire at her shop and soon after they are also investigating the theft of not only Susa¿s paintings she¿d done for the auction but also the theft of Lacey¿s grandfather¿s paintings. The attraction between Ian and Lacey is strong, hot and instantaneous. The romance starts early in the book and doesn¿t let up until the very last page. Ian is definitely alpha but he isn¿t domineering ¿ although he knows that Lacey is in danger, he and Lacey work together to find out the who¿s, what¿s and why¿s of these puzzling events.
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skywriter_types More than 1 year ago
Some of the other Rarities titles are too "fey" for me (way too much emphasis on the psychic or druidic, and not enough on the contemporary). This title is one of my favorite Lowell books. I've read lots of reviews of it that point out it's pretty predictable (name me a Lowell book that isn't for the main plot points?) Others have objected to the information about plein air painting. I found the way she weaves the painting process into the story interesting and convincing. It made me care about the characters and got me tangled into the plot. I live (a long time ago) in the area she describes - if you've never been to Southern California, she captures it so well I can almost smell the sea again. Recommended for those who enjoy R-rated romantic thrillers. Not only a Rarities title, it also crosses over into the Donovan series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a big Lowell fan and she's done it again. sure it's very similar to the other books of hers, but that just makes it all the more interesting the see the lovey dovey side of someone who might of been portrayed differantly in the other books from the series. Besides Ian has the best lines ever!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was great! it fits right in with the rest of the donovan family books. the romance was fun and entertaining, although the family saga in the book was a little confusing and could have used some clarification. otherwise a great read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome, the only problem with it was the ending died off to quickly. I wanted a little more 'after the fact' story that just wasn't there. BUT the book was definetly worth reading, I loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
She knows how to write a story that just keeps you turning the pages..then you wish it would not end!! Lacey and Ian were just wonderful and keep things going! And to hear about Rareties, was a gift!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fans wanted Ian Lapstrakes story... and here it is. Wonderful book, great suspence and as always a touching love story. You will even see a few Donovans from her earlier books pop up for a cameo. Can't wait for the next book from Elizabeth Lowell.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am getting disappointed with E.L. work. The basic plot was good, but she's giving up character development for fast moves--her work is going from what used to be a little racy to just plain crass; from edgy to sleazy. (If my boyfriend talked to me like that, I'd knee him.) I loved the Amber Beach series, but her stories are just getting tired.
Guest More than 1 year ago
don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't quite up there with some of lowell's other work. I found some points of the mystery part of the book to be so obvious from a readers standpoint that it was annoying when the characters didn't automatically grasp what was happening. other things just seemed too coincidental and illogical. the romance part was okay but the rest seemed to drag.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The beginning was ok, but then the author just ran out of good ideas. The characters were two dimensional, the plot weak and improbable. Lowell needs to stop using the cookie-cutter format that allows her readers to correctly guess the ending after reading less than one third of the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You should read it and learn something you may or may not hear of it before about the paintings and history!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In California, renowned artist Susa Donavon will paint a canvas in front of an audience. Her work will be auctioned as part of raising money for the Friends of Moreno County. Additionally Susa will appraise any works brought in by patrons of the arts with the money raised also donated to the Friends of Moreno County.

Art buyer and artist Lacey Quinn brings in paintings done by her late grandfather in the 1920s for Susa to evaluate. Susa feels that the works owned by Lacey are from highly regarded plein air artist Lewis Marten. Though she doubts it, Lacey, already interested in the life of her relative, cannot resist researching the darker portrayals of murder, but soon finds evidence that the homicides occurred and that history repeats itself.

Insight into the California art scene adds a taste of reality to a suspense-laden tale. The heroine is a delight as she seeks her place feeling like the outsider in her family especially when compared to her two siblings. The murder mystery is thirty plus years old with frozen tundra trails yet Lacey relatively easily solves them, which takes credibility away from a well written fun story that readers will still value.

Harriet Klausner