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The Art of Murder Paperback – Jun 2 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Tra edition (June 2 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349118833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349118833
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3 x 19.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #793,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Booklist

Madrid novelist Somoza's latest thriller to appear in the U.S. (it was originally published in Spain in 2001) concerns a young girl who is found murdered and two police detectives who must find the killer before he strikes again. But it's the world of the novel that captures our interest, not the whodunit aspect. The action takes place in the bizarre subculture of hyperdramatic art, in which the works of art are actual, living people, painted and posed like living mannequins. It is a world in which 14-year-old girls (like the murder victim) can be sold to collectors, not as people but as artworks. And sold for a lot of money, too. It's a fascinating and certainly disquieting underworld, and readers are drawn deep into it by Somoza's stylish prose (nicely translated by Caistor). Fans of mysteries in which the setting takes precedence over the story should be steered toward this one. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


Chilly, clever and gripping by turns.―SUNDAY TIMES

Wonderfully aberrant ideas about humanity and aesthetics are spun out of this intriguing fiction... Somoza entices us along with shifts in tempo, offbeat aesthetic and pragmatic interrogations by the two detectives, and some crankily comic visions of the f―TLS

Somoza breathes originality, wit, satire, and suspense into a moribund genre.―GOOD BOOK GUIDE

Simply delicious. It stubbornly fails to be pigeon-holed: it is a dark thriller and more... This is an important novel which demands to be read- and heeded.―IRISH EXAMINER

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating May 13 2005
By Helios - Published on
Format: Paperback
I doubt there are many authors in the world today with the imagination & creativity of Somoza.

Even though the concepts were slightly weird at the start, they soon became utterly engrossing. The author does an amazing job creating & developing backgrounds and characters.

Highlighting the fact that it's not a traditional "murder mystery" and that the ending is somewhat predictable is simply missing the point.

Every young, aspiring writer should read this. Easily 5 stars.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Read Aug. 31 2007
By celyn - Published on
Format: Paperback
I found this to be a thoroughly entertaining, provocative, intelligent book. One of my litmus tests is: would you read it again? And I have, perhaps three or four times. I always find something new in it. I am actually staggered that this book is not more well-known!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Art of Murder July 22 2009
By bumuling - Published on
Format: Paperback
The subculture Somoza has created here is fascinating, strange and somewhat fetishistic. The investigators are not police detectives, but administrators in charge of security for the artistic genius Bruno Van Tysch, whose human "paintings" have been targeted by a killer.

The story moves between the politics behind the investigation (not the police procedures but behind-the-scenes power struggles among different branches of Van Tysch's organization, and lots of talk about the money at stake if his priceless works are damaged or lost) and the experience of one human "canvas" as she is stretched, primed, sketched, and otherwise prepared to become a master work.

Much of the novel is taken up with that process, and with the controversies surrounding humans-as-art. The investigators cannot even agree as to whether the torture and murder of one of Van Tysch's paintings was "sadistic"-- was she, after all, human, or only a canvas?

Absorbing, complex, a great read.
Amazing Creativity July 6 2012
By adriondack - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for anyone who loves to read mystery and thriller. The author, Jose Carlos Somoza, makes this story amazingly creative. The idea of HD art that he introduced in this novel is astonishing, i was first thrilled to even think of HD art. HD is called they Hyperdramatic Art, where painters paint people and put them as canvases in exhibitions or houses. The story revolves around making the HD art, then a mysterious murderer, known as The Art, destroys the canvases, that is the people who are painted into canvases. This story makes you think hard even when you finish reading it because it discusses the meaning of art, what is it to be called the art, and if art is destruction. Well i shouldn't say more than this because i would be spoiling all the fun and thrill that the reader will get when reading this novel. Just buy this book and start reading. I finished this book at once. Also, because i was so thrilled by this book, i bought The Athenian Murders by Somoza, which had me re-read the last chapter at least two times. The Athenian Murders is a great book, every one should read it. Go find yourself why am i praising these books this much. Well one thing for me, Jose Carlos Somoza has become one of my favorite authors now.
7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
artistic murder March 3 2005
By alex - Published on
Format: Paperback
Not a great murder mystery as such, but a very interesting novel that challenges our perceptions of what constitutes art.

Somoza raises really provocative questions as to what we would do for art, is art good because of the way it is marketed and is it better for having a hefty price tag?

The other questions he leaves us with is when is nudity art and when is it pornography? Does this change with how old the model is or how much they want to do it? When does art become abuse and is it excusable because it is art?

I found the concept of the novel intriguing, being a futuristic Europe but with current structures of business and employment exploring the ideal of art. That the book was marketed as a murder/mystery/crime novel was unfortunate as that part of the novel really didn't quite work and got bogged down in the detail of art galleries and art works.

I recommend the book for anyone interested in art or who likes to be extended with new ideas.