Friday, June 27, 2014

What we're reading: Art thriller

Somehow, even when I am not looking for them, books with some connection to art seem to fall into my grasp, but the coincidence here seems extreme: I picked up Dead Sleep, by Greg Iles, for 99 cents at Goodwill while shopping for T-shirts for our teen craft program at the library! I had, yet again, made it home for the weekend with nothing to read, and it looked the most likely choice from what was on offer. It was definitely a dollar well spent...

Jordan Glass is a Pulitzer Prize-winning war photographer. She is also a twin whose world stopped 18 months ago when her identical sister, Jane, simply disappeared off the street one day. Jordan is trying to get on with her life by working on a book, and has taken a field trip to China to shoot some photos. A friend sends her to the Hong Kong Art Museum to take in a collection of Chinese watercolors, but while there she stumbles into a gallery exhibiting a controversial display of works by an anonymous painter, called the "Sleeping Women." As it says in the description at the door of the gallery, there is some question about whether the nude women depicted are sleeping or dead, and since Jordan, in her pursuit of combat photos around the globe, has actually seen dead bodies, she finds herself agreeing with the latter assessment, as she proceeds from one to the next. As she walks the room, she comes face to face with one of the paintings that shockingly depicts her own face--or that of her missing sister's. This starts her--and the FBI and the New Orleans police department--on a wild quest to find out all they can about everyone remotely connected with these paintings, before more women are taken off the streets of New Orleans and subjected to the insane fate of being killed for art.

This was a smart and well-played thriller, with lively, interesting, real characters, a taut, masterfully plotted mystery, and a killer ending (pardon the pun). Good one! I'm going to read another!

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