Elizabeth Lowell, Author . Morrow $24.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-050412-0

Heavy on romance and light on mystery, Lowell's latest romantic thriller (after Running Scared), set in the art world, promises fireworks, then fizzles out. Art buyer and struggling southern California artist Lacey Quinn shows a few of her grandfather's paintings to renowned artist Susa Donovan, in the area for a charity event. The paintings are mostly landscapes, but also include a few samples from his dark later work, including detailed depictions of murder and death by fire and drowning. Believing that the landscapes are really the work of famous California plein air painter Lewis Marten, Susa asks Lacey to have them professionally appraised. Lacey resists Susa's pleas, fearing that her grandfather may have been guilty of forgery, but she discovers something far more complicated and horrifying. The murders her grandfather depicted actually took place, and as Lacey digs into her grandfather's past, strangely similar murder attempts and arsons begin cropping up. Her research leads her to Ward Forrest, a financier and real estate mogul who is obsessed with the paintings. In spite of the high-concept plot, most readers will guess the outcome well before the end of the book, and the speed and ease with which Lacey unravels three decades of murder and mayhem defy credibility. The wide array of characters and the engaging lesson on California art are enjoyable, but they can't make up for the lack of suspense. (One-day laydown June 24)

Reviewed on: 05/26/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Ebook - 544 pages - 978-0-06-112358-0
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Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-078325-9
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Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 544 pages - 978-0-06-055844-4
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Ebook - 544 pages - 978-0-06-174327-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-264157-1
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