From the Publisher
“Life imitates art with dire consequences in this provocative first novel.”--Booklist
[An] entertaining debut…Contemporary Manhattan, viewed through a struggling artist's eyes, lends social and cultural interest.”--Publishers Weekly
"Author Cole has created a tough-minded and attractive central character who is resilient and believable, as well as strong secondary characters who add to the novel's depth. It is a solid debut crime story with a fascinating premise, engaging characters, and a good feel for the novel's urban space.”--Mystery Scene Review
Cole's entertaining debut, winner of Minotaur and Malice Domestic's Best First Traditional Mystery competition, introduces fine art photographer Lydia McKenzie. Before the cheap wine is gone, the police arrive at Lydia's first New York solo exhibit, a collection of meticulously reconstructed homicide scenes, to inform her that one of her models, a good friend, has been killed and posed in the same manner as one of Lydia's photos. After another of her models suffers the same fate, attractive NYPD Det. Daniel Romero warns that Lydia may be next. Lydia begins to investigate, albeit in amateur fashion. Several members of her artist critique group make promising suspects, one of whom is arrested, but too late Lydia realizes she and the NYPD may be mistaken. She soon has cause to be grateful for her newly acquired self-defense techniques, learned at her best friend's insistence. Contemporary Manhattan, viewed through a struggling artist's eyes, lends social and cultural interest. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
As photographer Lydia McKenzie's first one-woman show opens, the police inform her that a friend was murdered. It seems a killer is using Lydia's photos, which re-create actual murders, as he targets her models. Lydia's day job is office manager for a private detective agency, so it is not a great stretch to the plot when she sets out to find the killer after a second friend/model is murdered. The only jarring note is why Lydia, unless she is completely insensitive, would believe that portraits of murdered young women would be art and not hurtful to the victims' families. This winner of the St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel competition is recommended for larger collections. [Library marketing.]
Jo Ann Vicarel
Who's stalking the aspiring photographer and knocking off her models?Lydia McKenzie aggressively works the crowd during the opening night party for her first solo art show at the Bulan Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The tippling of slightly hysterical gallery owner Jacques Bulan threatens to spoil the show, which features artistic re-creations of lurid crime scenes. But the festivities continue until police detectives Romero (male) and Wong (female) arrive with the news that Lydia's model and friend Marie has been murdered and, even worse, arranged in a pose that matches an art photo snapped by Lydia. Lydia finds the sexy Romero sympathetic, but Wong treats her like a suspect. When Marie's mother asks Lydia's help in planning a memorial service, Lydia begins searching for a missing address book to contact potential attendees. She finds it, along with some evidence that may incriminate Marie. Lydia's day job at slapdash D'Angelo Investigations-where Leo and Frankie D'Angelo spend more time avoiding work (and their domineering Mama, who owns the business) than investigating-provides comic relief and a diversion from her troubles. At length, however, a rift develops over Heather Pruitt, a blonde bombshell who entrances Frankie, annoys Leo and seems to have designs on the business. An attack on Jacques and the murder of more models make Lydia fear for her own life and launch her own investigation. Cole's fiction debut, winner of the St. Martin's Minotaur/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, is amiable, well-plotted and just a bit stiff.