The Genius

( 12 )

Overview

A tenant has disappeared in a New York slum, leaving behind strange, original artwork. Gallery owner Ethan Muller can see its brilliance—and money-making potential. When Ethan displays the art, the show attracts the attention of the police. Because the subjects of the pictures look exactly like the victims in a long-cold murder case. Ethan has received a letter saying stop, stop, stop. And the still-missing genius may be the link to a madman—or the madman himself.

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The Genius

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Overview

A tenant has disappeared in a New York slum, leaving behind strange, original artwork. Gallery owner Ethan Muller can see its brilliance—and money-making potential. When Ethan displays the art, the show attracts the attention of the police. Because the subjects of the pictures look exactly like the victims in a long-cold murder case. Ethan has received a letter saying stop, stop, stop. And the still-missing genius may be the link to a madman—or the madman himself.

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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
Disturbingly and deliciously different, altogether perfect for our times.
Baltimore Sun
A thriller so tightly wired that the reader's self-control shatters.
Marilyn Stasio
A suspense story has to take over your mind, leaving you disoriented (and feeling a little foolish) when you look up at the end. Jesse Kellerman makes this act of self-hypnosis easy, mainly because he understands the mechanics of obsessive thought…Being the kind of writer who collects voices the way beachcombers pick up buckets of shells, Kellerman revels in the verbal cacophony of a gallery opening and the brittle badinage of a sales pitch. But the nasal tones of Ethan's narrative voice reveal a lonely little rich boy who needs something to substitute for a distant father's love. Listen to that voice long enough and it becomes as mesmerizing as the radiant horrors of Victor's psychotically deranged art.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Greed gets Ethan Muller, a 33-year-old Manhattan art dealer, into hot water in Kellerman's superb third stand-alone thriller (after Trouble). When reclusive artist Victor Cracke disappears, Muller winds up taking possession of the boxes and boxes of intense, disturbing drawings that Cracke left behind in his shabby Queens apartment. A favorable New York Timesarticle helps fuel lucrative sales at an exhibit of Cracke's drawings at Muller's Chelsea gallery. Soon, though, Muller starts to receive cryptic, vaguely threatening letters. He also hears from a retired NYPD detective, Lee McGrath, who recognizes the face of one of the boys in a Cracke drawing as belonging to the victim of a 40-year-old unsolved murder. That revelation turns Muller into an amateur detective as he attempts to discover how the dead boy's image-along with those of several other victims-made its way into the pictures. Kellerman has a gift for creating compelling characters as well as for crafting an ingenious plot that grabs the reader and refuses to let go. Author tour. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780515146059
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 369,492
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jesse Kellerman

Jesse Kellerman is the author of Potboiler, The Executor, The Genius, Trouble, Sunstroke. and with Jonathan Kellerman, The Golem of Hollywood. His books and plays have won several awards and an Edgar Award nomination. He lives in California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    excellent psychological suspense cozy

    Ethan Muller owns a successful art gallery in Manhattan¿s Chelsea neighborhood, but recently his enthusiasm for his endeavor has diminished. Although he and his father no longer talk to one another, they communicate through Tony, his dad¿s second in command. Tony calls Ethan to tell him that in a Queens¿ slum apartment are boxes and books of ink and felt-tip drawings by a vanished genius. --- Ethan goes to the wilderness where he concludes the work is brilliant as individual drawings, but the genius is that they fit together like puzzle pieces into a large piece. He takes a section and displays it at his gallery where a patron buys up the entirety of what he displays. The artist Victor Cracke vanished and none of his neighbors knew this reclusive loner or where he went. A retired cop recognizes the faces of murdered children in the exhibit he and his assistant DA daughter Susan have an interest in the Muller gallery as they want to find the artist of these portraits to perhaps crack open a forty year of cold case murder. --- This is an excellent psychological suspense cozy that will haunt the audience due to the superb characterizations especially with Ethan, Susan, and the title character Cracke who makes a cameo appearance. Ethan is the reason the strong story line works as his everyman flawed personality especially a touch of larceny brings plausibility to the plot that otherwise would feel over the top albeit groovy of the 59th Street-Queensborogh Bridge. With plenty of twists and shockers, fans will wonder along with the now besieged Ethan just who is Victor and where he is. --- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Unique and Moving Story

    The Genius is really two stories. One is about Ethan Muller, estranged son of an extremely wealthy New York City family, who runs an art gallery. Early on, he is led to the incredible artwork of an eccentric and lonely genius, who has now disappeared and may be linked to a series of child murders. A parallel story, told at interludes, describes the history of Ethan's family, back to 1847. (This for me was actually the more absorbing of the two tales.) Eventually the two stories converge, in an astonishing and satisfying way. A powerful subtext of this novel is the tragedy of forcing those who are "different" into what society expects of them rather than encouraging them to follow the flow of their own creative....genius.. A truly fine novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2013

    A look at the other side.....

    Kellerman skillfully shows the intricacies of the Muller family as history evolves. Showing domestic royalty as it exists in America. A unique piece of literature in a time when most stories of secret agents or vampires have a shallow story line that is only capable of holding the interest of a 12 year old.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    good story

    i enjoyed the story. ending felt a little like it wrapped up too quickly but still enjoyed the book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    wonderful

    very seldom do I read a book that is so wonderfully written that I actually wish to read every word, (without the slight to large skimming that I usually do). Am buying his other book as I write this. Well done. Read a sample , but I loved that the book was also had a totally different story, unexpected. Art and murder aren't new but put the author's way it was.

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    I loved it!

    I loved the way Jesse Kellerman told this story by stepping back and forth between current day and various stages in the past to methodically shed light on the seemingly dysfunctional and odd Muller family. It was almost like playing chess, as I tried to fit each new piece of information into the puzzle. Just the right amount of mystery, drama, suspense and even humor. And it all fit together so well!
    I don't want to give too much away but I found myself becoming very endeared to the elusive Victor, which is interesting since Kellerman did such a good job of keeping Victor out of range throughout the story.

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  • Posted November 18, 2009

    The Genius by Jesse Kellerman

    A brilliant book. I loved this book and highly recommend it. Jesse Kellerman is a Genius!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2008

    Not the best

    This book really didn't grab me. I love a good thriller or mystery but I didn't find the characters all that interesting or intriguing. I got through about 5 chapters, then I had to give up. I think I'll go back to Harlan Coben.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2008

    his best

    This book was quirky, funny at times and suspenseful. The characters were interesting and the plot's resolution was satisfying. This book was a page turner and I definitely recommend it.

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    Posted February 10, 2011

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    Posted March 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2009

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 12 Customer Reviews

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