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A Grave Talent Paperback – Jun 1 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Crimeline; Reprint edition (June 1 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553573993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553573992
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.5 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #219,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Although it gets off to an uncertain start, this first mystery boasts an appealing female detective and a few good shocks delivered close to the end. Three children's bodies are found near a reclusive community of eccentrics not too many miles from San Francisco. Young cop Casey Martinelli and her embittered, tyrannical partner Alonzo Hawkins think they've identified the perfect suspect in Vaun Adams, the community's resident artist, who once was convicted of murdering a child and who is secretive even by the standards of her weird neighbors. Adams is a strong, enigmatic creation: haunted, gothic and broadly dysfunctional, with a dark past that may contain the lurking killer. But the plot exhibits cracks--a tenuous piece of deduction conveniently dictates that the murder suspects can come only from the community--and King stumbles several times in developing her detectives' characters. She is coy about revealing the gender of Casey's lover (most readers will spot the "surprise" a mile off), and she lets Hawkins' initially gruff manner dissipate within a dozen pages. If King plans a series, she will need to flesh out her protagonists.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

An omniscient narrator endows this amazing first novel with intelligence, intrigue, and intricacy. The serial murders of three kindergarten-aged girls test the uncomfortable relationship between a crusty San Francisco detective and his new female partner, both known for their independence. Eventually, unforeseen complications involving a remarkable artist's past and an evil stalker's secretive present force the pair into confrontation, and they learn to trust. This work exhibits strong psychological undertones, compelling urgency, and dramatic action. A necessary purchase and a writer to watch.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Judith Miller on Jan. 15 2004
Format: Paperback
Laurie King did a wonderful job in writing this story. It's difficult for me to believe that it's her first novel.
A GRAVE TALENT is the story of a murder investigation. There are two homicide officers in charge of the case. Alonzo Hawkin is a veteran detective who is partnered with Casey Martinelli, a young woman who had just received a promotion. The investigation involves the murders of three little girls. A beautiful and talented artist is the main suspect because she had been convicted of a similar crime seventeen years ago.
The author keeps the reader interested by the many twists and turns in the story.
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Format: Paperback
An excellent book I'd heartily recommend to anyone interested in mysteries/thrillers with an art twist. It is a San Francisco police investigation, revolving around a famous female artist, Vaun Adams, who has been in jail (under another name) for the murder of a child. When three more little girls are murdered near her current home, a hippie enclave, she's the logical suspect. But the detectives almost immediately conclude that she was wrongly convicted the first time, and is the victim of a frame by someone who hates her. The art elements (the description of her work, of her studio, and of her) as well as the characterizations, settings, private lives, motivations and detection are handled extremely well. The identification of the criminal, and the police pursuit of Vaun Adam's enemy, trying to catch him before he can kill again, is packed with suspense.
As far as I know, King has not written again about the art world. I wish she would. I think I've read every art-related mystery still in print, and a lot that aren't, and this is one of the best. She includes the perfect amount of information about art and the artist, enough so the reader has a sense of it, an understanding of the plot, but not enough to bore the reader.
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Format: Paperback
An excellent book I'd heartily recommend to anyone interested in mysteries/thrillers with an art twist. It is a San Francisco police investigation, revolving around a famous female artist, Vaun Adams, who has been in jail (under another name) for the murder of a child. When three more little girls are murdered near her current home, a hippie enclave, she's the logical suspect. But the detectives almost immediately conclude that she was wrongly convicted the first time, and is the victim of a frame by someone who hates her. The art elements (the description of her work, of her studio, and of her) as well as the characterizations, settings, private lives, motivations and detection are handled extremely well. The identification of the criminal, and the police pursuit of Vaun Adam's enemy, trying to catch him before he can kill again, is packed with suspense.
As far as I know, King has not written again about the art world. I wish she would. I think I've read every art-related mystery still in print, and a lot that aren't, and this is one of the best. She includes the perfect amount of information about art and the artist, enough so the reader has a sense of it, an understanding of the plot, but not enough to bore the reader.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I began this novel blind-sighted by its fluorescing orange cover but finished it with a clear vision of Laurie King�s characters and the motive behind the crimes. The plot allows for digressions into her characters' histories and the murderer's motive. Her digressions prove that she is in no rush to publish sequential novels, which is a fault, in my opinion, of the many other murder mysteries I have read for a college course. The reader is allowed to get to know her characters with time, just as any relationship requires. For example, the relationship she creates between her lead detectives Kate Martinelli and AL Hawkin is honest. They start out testing one another and it is only when each has proven his/her capability that a trust is formed. It is not a matter of gender as I had suspected at the start of the novel. Upon the introduction of Hawkin I was concerned that King was going to depict him as the stereotypical male- chauvinist-boss-man character that Martinelli will have to gloriously over come. Not so. Hawkin is as judgmental as anyone would be when assigned a high profile case with a new-to-the-job partner. He is different because he is open to her success. He respects her when she demonstrates her strength in the field.
To understand Hawkin, Martinelli, and her other characters, King doesn�t just tell the reader but rather shows their personalities through their emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. In addition to accomplishing strong character development, this technique validates any motive behind the crimes. There is a digression into the past of Vaun Adams, the suspected murderer, that provides information on why she could or could not be the murderer and if not, than reasons to suspect another.
I suggest putting sunglasses on so that this book can be approached and read. I finished this book eager to know Kate and Al and the gang better in King's mysteries to come.
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Format: Paperback
I began this novel blind-sighted by its fluorescing orange cover but finished it with a clear vision of Laurie King's characters and the motive behind the crimes. The plot allows for digressions into her characters' histories and the murderer's motive. Her digressions prove that she is in no rush to publish sequential novels, which is a fault, in my opinion, of the many other murder mysteries I have read for a college course. The reader is allowed to get to know her characters with time, just as any relationship requires. For example, the relationship she creates between her lead detectives Kate Martinelli and AL Hawkin is honest. They start out testing one another and it is only when each has proven his/her capability that a trust is formed. It is not a matter of gender as I had suspected at the start of the novel. Upon the introduction of Hawkin I was concerned that King was going to depict him as the stereotypical male- chauvinist-boss-man character that Martinelli will have to gloriously over come. Not so. Hawkin is as judgmental as anyone would be when assigned a high profile case with a new-to-the-job partner. He is different because he is open to her success. He respects her when she demonstrates her strength in the field.
To understand Hawkin, Martinelli, and her other characters, King doesn't just tell the reader but rather shows their personalities through their emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. In addition to accomplishing strong character development, this technique validates any motive behind the crimes. There is a digression into the past of Vaun Adams, the suspected murderer, that provides information on why she could or could not be the murderer and if not, than reasons to suspect another.
I suggest putting sunglasses on so that this book can be approached and read. I finished this book with a desire to get to know Kate and Al and the gang better in King's mysteries to come.
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