Still Lives

Still Lives

by Maria Hummel

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Overview

Still Lives by Maria Hummel

"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

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619021112
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 06/05/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 29,023
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

MARIA HUMMEL is the author of Motherland (2014), an SF Chronicle Book of the Year; House and Fire (2013), and Wilderness Run (2002). She worked at MOCA in Los Angeles, then received a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University and taught there for many years. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Vermont, and lives in Vermont with her husband and sons.

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Still Lives: A Novel 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous 19 days ago
The book has good imagery with the descriptions of Kim Lord's paintings and does a good job of making you curious about the real murders and want to look them up. But the book's main "message" was criticizing the media for sensationalizing violence against women and the voyeuristic gaze of the media consumers so I felt that the book sort of entices people to do just that while also using those crimes as a plot device. Also, I just don't buy the ending. I'm not convinced. Maybe there are some bits that I missed or didn't pick up on, but the ending seems forced to me.
SheTreadsSoftly 12 months ago
Still Lives by Maria Hummel is a recommended mystery concerned with who might be responsible for an artist's disappearance. Maggie Richter, the staff editor at Los Angeles’s Rocque Museum, is attending the opening gala for avant-garde artist Kim Lord's latest show. Lord's self-portraits feature paintings with Lord posed as famous murdered women. Maggie wanted to avoid attending because Lord's boyfriend, Greg Shaw Ferguson, is Maggie's ex. To make matters worse, Greg left Maggie for Lord. However, when Kim Lord is missing from her own opening gala, something is amiss and the search is on for the controversial artist. When Greg becomes the prime suspect, Maggie begins a low key investigation into Lord's disappearance and the suspects. The novel works because of Hummel's careful descriptions of the various characters and their concerns. While Lord's show may disgust many of them, they are all ambitious and concerned over the success of the museum and keeping their place in the art world of Los Angeles. Maggie uses her place as an insider along with her training as a journalist to fuel her investigation. The novel does have a very slow start and it takes a while for the pace to pick up and for Maggie's investigation to begin. The writing is good, but I was surprised Still Lives was chosen as a Book of the Month. Perhaps this is because I had a couple issues with it. It is a good novel, but not quite that good. Maggie is the narrator, so you get to read many of her thoughts in descriptions, etc. I'll admit right now I had a problem with some of these since they demeaned other people. For example: "Evie in the cheap gray pantsuit and white blouse of a supermarket manager." Really? Why not just say a cheap suit? Why describe it as connected with someone's job - someone who likely doesn't wear a cheap suit? And why have Maggie, as a character, even think of this if she comes from a modest background? And this is just one example. While the big hook is that the novel is about the "media's fetishistic fascination with the violent murders of beautiful women," I never really felt that was the focus. Lord's art dealt with it and it was discussed in the context of her art work, but in reality a statement was never definitively made. The famous murders were discussed - but I began to feel that Hummel was taking their murders and using them as a plot device to pull in readers. A "message" novel doesn't guarantee a 5 star novel. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Counterpoint Press.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Wordy without getting to the point.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Cannot believe something so poorly written would be published and was part of the ridiculous Book of the Month Club. Readers beware....impossible to cancel without losing money!