Still Lives Book Tour

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

What's this? A blog post? That's right it is, I'm back and not only am I back, I'm back with a blog tour. Today I am bringing you everything you need to know about Still Lives by Maria Hummel, also featuring my review of this thrilling read. 

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.

I was kindly gifted a copy of Still Lives by Quercus in exchange for an honest review. 

Still Lives was the August pick for Reese Witherspoon's book club, admittedly I haven't been following the book club, but it was an accolade I recognised when searching through books to request and after reading the blurb I decided this was definitely the book for me. This is a book full of beautifully descriptive prose that read very classically, this did however mean I struggled to get into the book for a while, as I typically prefer dialogue driven reads. Once I got into the grit of the books premise, I enjoyed it a lot more. 

The book is set in the LA, and follows the mystery of the disappearance of an artist, Kim Lord, whose controversial exhibition consists of self portraits, placing Kim into the scenarios of real female murder victims, and highlights the way society views them (and women in general), which was understandably, a difficult but interesting aspect to the book. I'm a big fan of psychological thrillers and this book definitely delivered in that department.

The story follows Maggie Ritcher, the museum editor. Maggie also happens to be the ex-girlfriend of Kim's partner, and if those details don't tie her to the disappearance enough, she also feels responsible for the death of one of the women featured in Kim's paintings, so Maggie is quick to take matters into her own hands. Things don't look good for her so the book quickly ups its pace as Maggie begins her investigating and I was hooked from there. 

A lot of the other characters were pretentious, but in the back of my mind I know that's probably a fair depiction of this particular strand of the LA art world, I wouldn't necessarily expect a death exhibition to be populated by easy-going types, but it did add to my initial difficulty reading this book. Maggie was who I connected with the most in the story, which is good since the story came from her point of view.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who really enjoys thrillers, it's a slow burn at the start but once you get into it I'm sure you'll be hooked on the twists and turns this book brings you and I'd be interested to know who guessed the ending, I know I didn't (though I am infamously bad at guessing the ends of books). 

You can pick up your own copy of Still Lives by Maria Hummel now! And while you're here, you might want to take note of some of the other stops on this social media tour, in case there's anything I missed you can head over to the other blogs sharing posts about this book today, and for the rest of the week.

Thanks for reading!

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