An assiduous, panoramic journey through the art community of New York City in the late '70s.
Part romance, part suspense, Clendenen's debut dives inside the eccentric art world in 1977 New York. Her degree in art history, her work at Sotheby's and Christie's and experience as a journalist covering the art world all color her story of struggling painter Beauregard Ryder. Bo is your boilerplate prototype of the talented, down-on-his-luck painter who just loves to paint. And Bo is flat-broke, an inconvenience that will lead to his ultimate undoing. Desperation pushes him over the edge when he's served an eviction notice and now he's thinking the unthinkable–art forgery–and, paint chips falling where they may, he's soon hip-deep in the sketchy world of fraud. His growing attraction to art critic Megan Trico isn't helping his coverup either. Though she's not savvy to Bo's shady dealings, there certainly are clues that he's involved in some sort of dubious activities. As Megan investigates a stolen-painting case, art-house expert Alistair Cavendish enters the picture, leading to a rather thorny love triangle. All of this plays out against the exciting panorama of galleries and auctions, with much welcome detail on the intricacies of each, along with fascinating information on actual forgeries of the past. The author excels at seamlessly integrating facets of the art world into her narrative, and her characters are interesting, if a bit stereotypical. Though the dialogue is often stilted, and occasionally lifeless, the author's story is an intriguing tale of the art world that moves far beyond the gallery's sparkling lobby.
Appealing characters and storyline, but the real star here is the milieu. Clendenen knows her stuff.