The Death Artist Mass Market Paperback – Aug 26 2003
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Kate McKinnon, a former cop turned philanthropist, art impresario, and socialite, is a heroine straight out of a Judith Krantz novel, which is not necessarily a bad thing: you can always count the brand names Jonathan Santlofer drops on almost every page, even if you're not particularly intrigued by the mystery of who's behind a string of ritualistic serial murders that are carefully staged to resemble famous paintings only a woman with Kate's arcane knowledge and aesthetic judgment might recognize. Or you could figure out who's next on the killer's list faster than Kate manages to--she can't rule anyone out, not even her husband. Despite that rather silly red herring, she finally manages to get to the bottom of things in this stylish thriller from a painter whose fantasies of murder and revenge--on critics, collectors, competitors, and gallery owners, evidently--must have required a wider than usual canvas. -- Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Painter Santlofer turns his artists eye to murder in an alternately brutal and dishy debut whodunit about a New York cop¤turned¤art historian tracking down a serial killer who mutilates his victims to make them look like famous paintings. While many in the ostentatiously elegant cast of self-serving artists, curators, patrons and patronesses hide ugly secrets, only one takes the idea of the tortured artist to the extreme. His first victim, a museum board president with a taste for sadomasochism, is found in his bathtub, arm draped over the side in the same pose as Davids Marat. Inspired by both traditional and modern art and sensitive to color, line and light, the death artist next slashes the face of a female victim to match a Picasso portrait. It's enough to horrify but not to deter ex-homicide detective Kate McKinnon Rothstein, now a wealthy, beautiful hostess of her own PBS series. She puts her talents and her marriage to the test to pursue a criminal who seems to crave her appreciation for his handiwork. The exploration of the psychology of the death artist, along with gossipy insights into the politics of art, make this book a bloody funfest for the museum and gallery crowd, never mind that as Kate investigates sexual liaisons that cross social and moral boundaries, she uncovers an array of suspense novel cliches. When Santlofer, a Pratt graduate, NEA grant recipient and Yaddo board member, airs his insider views, his observations of art and the art world lift this enthusiastic if not totally original mystery to the ranks of a high-class art opening.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Kate McKinnon is an ex-cop who has become a famous art historian by hosting her own PBS series. People close to her begin to die. They are murdered and their bodies are arranged similar to famous paintings. Kate, a friend of the NYPD chief of police, is allowed to participate with the police in helping them crack this tough case. As she investigates, it soon becomes apparent that the killer is targeting her.
Kate is an interesting protagonist and one the reader would like to meet. However, she appears a bit too tailor made for the role she plays. How many leave the police force to become famous art historians? I had a lot of trouble buying into this concept. However, once the reader accepts this, it is noted that she is very well created. The other characters are a mixed bunch-- some are sketchily developed and others are quite stereotypic. As noted previously, the killings lack originality in their very nature of trying to be unique. The plot races along quite nicely to the less than satisfactory conclusion. The killer is a character I did not remember meeting previously. In a sense, this is cheating. The bottom line, a less than spectacular effort in a book lacking originality and a bit too long.
Unfortunately, the writing is formulaic, and the reader must wade through dozens of clichés, much wooden dialogue, and "push-button images" in order to enjoy the mystery. The clichés begin with the opening sentence-"Even before it all went bad she had the feeling it was going to be a rotten day"-and continue as the characters are introduced. Willie is "sick and tired of being referred to as a 'black artist.' I'm an artist. Period." William Mason Pruitt, president of the Board of the Museum of Contemporary Art, is a conservative, we understand--he is described as a friend of Jesse Helms, and he wears a Yale tie.
Kate McKinnon Rothstein comes from an ordinary background, something we know because her mother is depicted wearing a "J.C.Penney dress," while Kate wears designer clothes, $400 shoes, lives in a 12-room penthouse, and carries a Prada purse. And which of these characters do you think is the senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art--Floyd Brown or Schuyler Mills?Read more ›
Kate is an ex-cop turned art critic who is suddenly thrown in the middle of a murder case when her protege is savagely murdered. And the killer is far from done; he will kill many more victims, all of them members of the art world, all of them murdered in a way depicting a classical painting.Kate is quickly given a temporary PD license so that she can assist the police force in the investigation.
The book is filled with dozens of characters, all of them eccentric and original. You'll never have any problem differentiating them. Each and everyone becomes a suspect, even Kate's big-shot attorney husband. There are many characters you'll just love to hate. Even Kate, with her strong head but penchant for fashion and looks, isn't all that likeable at times.
It's evident that Santlofer knows the world he is writing about. The locations, the dialogue and the situations are all very vivid. And what the plot lacks in originality, it regains in characterization and pacing. The novel moves along at the speed of a bullet; there is never a dull moment in The Death Artist.
The Death Artist also gives us a very original killer. Short scenes from his point of view are scattered across the book, turning the narrative into a very chilling and engaging piece of suspense.
The Death Artist is a great debut by a talented painter and writer. I can't wait to read Santlofer's next book!
Most recent customer reviews
Kate McKinnon is an ex-cop socialite/art scholar/philanthopist lured back to her cop's lifestyle by a string of grisley murder's in New York's art scene. Read morePublished on Oct. 20 2003 by paul mason
When I first heard about this book, I was all agog- a murder mystery set in the art world! A murderer who stages death as art! But this book proved to be a disappointment. Read morePublished on Sept. 2 2003 by Deepa Nirmal
The storyline of this book was wonderful--I had a hard time putting it down, but found myself skimming over some of the gag-inducing descriptions of the characters, their clothes... Read morePublished on May 23 2003
This book has the distinct privilege of being the worst novel I have ever seen through to completion. The premise of the book was so intriguing that I felt compelled to continue. Read morePublished on April 15 2003 by W. Spinelli
This was an extremely enjoyable book that really had me guessing until the end. I am a huge fan of the thriller genre and it takes quite a lot to actually make me cringe, but the... Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2002 by J. Benadon
THE DEATH ARTIST (aptly subtitled "A Novel of Suspense") is a taut, riveting thriller set in the New York art world. Read morePublished on Nov. 9 2002 by Bookreporter
The first victim was found dead in his bathtub with an arm hanging over the side as if the individual posed for David when he painted his famous portrait Marat. Read morePublished on Sept. 14 2002
The premise is enticing: a string of murders, each meticulously staged to represent a famous work of art (such as the late-eighteenth-century painting "The Death of Marat"... Read morePublished on Sept. 2 2002 by VNA
Within just a few pages I was sucked into the world of Kate McKinnon, ex-cop, and present day art-historian-celebrity. I was prepared for a murder mystery. Read morePublished on Aug. 31 2002 by glenn brill