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The Brutal Art Paperback – 29 Dec 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; Reprint. edition (29 Dec. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751540285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751540284
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 201,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jesse Kellerman was born in Los Angeles in 1978. He is the bestselling author of The Brutal Art and three other novels: The Executor, Trouble and Sunstroke. He graduated from Harvard and has won several awards for his writing, including the Princess Grace Award, given to America's most promising young playwright. He lives with his wife and son in California.

Product Description

Review

Literate and thought-provoking....Kellerman is a master of menace (Daily Mail )

A most accomplished novel by a writer of great imagination and skill (Sunday Telegraph )

An enthralling, character-driven drama (Daily Record )

Kellerman has a gift for creating compelling characters as well as for crafting an ingenious plot that grabs the reader and refuses to let go. (Publishers Weekly )

Book Description

A thing of beauty is a joy forever - or at least until it kills you.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 14 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
Other reviewers have discussed the plot of this book so I won't repeat that. I started thinking that I would enjoy this as Kellerman has caught the voice of Ethan Muller very well, and the opening chapters with the mad, violent painting(s) felt like they were going somewhere.

But the whole thing dissolved with extended lifeless flashbacks which are so obviously going to meet up with the `present' plot, and a dull romance element that goes nowhere.

The writing is frequently clumsy and bitty, like lots of sections have been cut and pasted together without a clear flow, and the whole thing needs a good edit.

Very disappointing as there could have been a good story somewhere under all this, but it disappears beneath the mess.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By E. Heckingbottom TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 April 2009
Format: Paperback
So often one picks up a book written by the son, daughter, partner or sibling of a famous author and ends up feeling disappointed by either the quality of plot or the quality of writing - or both. There is always the fear that the only reason why their work has been published is because of some form of nepotism. When I picked up Jesse Kellerman's first novel eighteen months ago, I was doubly unsure, as both his parents are well known thriller writers (Jonathan and Faye Kellerman); however, I need not have worried. Jesse is a gifted author in his own right. Along with his two other books, his third published novel, The Brutal Art, is in no way a disappointment. Elements of both parents writing, along with a strong writing style of his own, make Jesse Kellerman's work a pleasure to read.

This novel opens with the discovery of a huge number of pieces of amazing works of modern art in a small flat - panels that fit together to create a mammoth scene, created by a man named Victor Cracke - who has totally disappeared. Before long, art dealer Ethan Muller has set up an exhibition, and the work is selling well. However, a retired police officer sees a photo of the central panel in the newspaper, and the search for the missing artist rapidly moves into a murder mystery as Ethan discovers that the cherubs at the centre of the work closely resemble five young boys, murdered many years earlier.

Did Victor murder them? Indeed, who was Victor Cracke? Why has he disappeared, and where has he gone? Why are so many people interested in him, and what connection does he have with Muller's own family history?
All these questions - and more - are answered in this intriguing novel as we find out more about Ethan Muller - about why he is so estranged from his own family - and about Victor Cracke himself; a victim of circumstances in many ways.

All in all, a very good read and well worth a try.
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Format: Paperback
I gave this a 4 because, although the plot goes nowhere and the climax is non-existent, the writing itself is highly skilled. The author knows what he is talking about -- either through diligent research or through having actually been there in such situations. This made the book well worth reading.

Where it falls over is in two places: first, as I've said above, the plot itself had the opportunity of going somewhere, but the denouement was so mundane you wonder whether the author *deliberately* wanted to disappoint, as some post-modern ironic statement of some kind, thereby making the book into a joke, a self-referentially absurdist piece of modern performance art or something equally pretentious, good grief, did I really just *write* that? Dear dear ...

The second place it falls over is that the author starts by writing this in a first-person fourth-wall-breaking style where he describes himself as a wannabe hard-boiled PI of the time-honoured Marlowe breed (and as such, this works well), but then a lot of the book is taken from a third-person omniscient-narrator perspective (including the dying thoughts of an elderly woman) completely incompatible with that of the narrator, who appears to be the *only* one who doesn't know anything at all about what goes on in his own family. And I'm sorry, but this jars badly.

Having said that, the scenes of selfish autocrats doing bad things to helpless underlings are poignant and angrifying, and as such one wonders whether they are cathartic in nature. If so, that would definitely portray the Kellerman clan in a completely new light.
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Format: Paperback
Well I have never read any of this authors parents work so that wasn't a factor at all for me. Indeed I had already purchased the book based on the cover and blurb on the back before the penny dropped.

Non spoiling plot synopsis

Art dealler Ethan Muller is called out to some real estate belonging to his father to view some brilliant but grotesque art work left by a tenant. When he displays this art he is called by an ex-cop who thinks the art may connected to some murders...
Add to this a bit of parent/ child relationship dynamics. Some historical flashbacks and a bit of a love story and you have the main ingredients of a quirky little book which I actually rather enjoyed.

Synopsis end

There were some disappointments. In a book full of fascinating characters the actual hero was a little drab I thought and the detective elements were a fairly small slice of the pie.

But I think the main character (Ethan Muller) is essentially our consciousness and eyes moving through this intriguing little section of New York life and history. In fact so much so that I did feel a little voyeuristic at times. As I say above there were a lot of intricate character portrayels too, even for some relatively minor parts, which gave the story depth and texture.

Unlike the top 'critical' review I actually really enjoyed the flashback and though, yes it did become apparent these to time threads would jion, I didn't think the major plot twist was telegraphed at all.

I also thought the romantic elements were realistic and satisfyingly unslushy which may frustrate the more romantically minded but bothered me not one jot!

So all in all a good little book though not an action thriller and not a classic 'whodunnit' either, so if that is what you are after look elswhere. If you like to poke around in a bunch of strangers lives though like me, give it a whirl!
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