Artist Moss pens a novel assembled from two stories based on real-life events—that of a staged accident and that of the victim.
Gaude Velasquez, based in Los Angeles, purposely causes accidents so he might collect large insurance payouts by convincing his victims and the insurance companies the victims are to blame. His system works because insurance companies would rather accept that their clients are at fault and thus raise their rates than expose themselves to expensive lawsuits. Velasquez sideswipes Joy Bravitski’s pickup, but she proves to be more than a match for him through her fierce claim of innocence and tenacious detective work. This part of the novel is mildly interesting and informative. Running parallel to the account of the accident stager is the story of Joy Bravitski’s art career. At age 66, she’s not having a good year. She’s not only Gaude’s latest victim, but her career has stalled after a successful 30-year run. The description of her work takes up the bulk of the novel, with details of her art process, descriptions of her paintings, the collectors, the exhibits and the hardships. While the artist’s background is readable, it does little to further the plotline of the accident stager. In fact, neither plotline furthers or enhances the other; instead, the combination interrupts the novel’s pacing. The writing tends toward wordy, and the dialogue is unrealistic. While the story of this fictional California artist’s challenges has potential, it’s not enhanced by the awkwardly juxtaposed minor tale of Gaude Velasquez.
A novel out of focus in content and form.