Books

STILL LIVES

By Maria Hummel

A young editor at a Los Angeles art museum finds herself pulled into the disturbing and dangerous world of a famous artist who goes missing on the opening night of her exhibition

cover

Still Lives
A Novel

Counterpoint Press
June 2018

Order through IndieBound, B&N, or Amazon

 

ADVANCE PRAISE:

“There’s nothing I like better than a well-written page-turner about the art world, and Maria Hummel has delivered this and more with her new literary thriller, Still Lives. Flawed characters abound as do clever plots and subplots along with irresistible peeks into hidden chambers of the LA art scene. Riveting." —B.A. Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger and The Muralist

"Still Lives offers its readers that delicious combination of entertainment and brilliance. It's at once profound and suspenseful, and while the plot kept me up nights (the ending had me gasping in surprise!), the book as a whole asks important questions about art and representation and how we, as a culture, objectify and endanger and victimize women. Maria Hummel has written a remarkable, relevant, and necessary novel."—Edan Lepucki, author of Woman No. 17 and the New York Times bestselling California

“While her protagonist investigates the disappearance of a major artist, Maria Hummel runs a shrewd parallel investigation into culture, gender, violence, and art. Still Lives is a propulsive, carefully crafted mystery with real thematic focus and heft.” —Chris Bachelder, author of The Throwback Special, Finalist for the National Book Award

"As gritty and glittering as the LA art world it depicts, Maria Hummel’s latest novel soars into the sun-swept heights of fame and beauty, then plunges us into violence. In Still Lives, Hummel does what she does best: delves with sensitivity and wit into complex, intertwined lives, lives that strain the frames that enclose them. Intelligent, vivid, and impeccably paced, this thrilling novel forces us to confront how dangerous art can be." —Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of Night at the Fiestas, winner of the NBCC John Leonard Award

 

THE PLOT:

Kim Lord is a powerful provocateur and feminist icon in the L.A. art scene. Her groundbreaking new exhibition, Still Lives, features portraits in which she depicts herself as famous, murdered women—the Black Dahlia, Chandra Levy, Nicole Brown Simpson, among many others—and the works are as compelling as they are disturbing, implicating a culture that is too accustomed to violence against women. 


As the city’s richest art patrons pour into the Rocque Museum’s opening night, all of the staff, including editor Maggie Richter, hope the event will be enough to save the historic institution’s flailing finances.


Except Kim Lord never shows up to her own gala.


Fear mounts as the hours and days drag on and Lord remains missing. Suspicion falls upon the up-and-coming gallerist Greg Shaw Ferguson, who happens to be Maggie’s ex. A rogue’s gallery of eccentric art world figures could also have motive for the act, and as Maggie gets drawn into her own investigation of Lord’s disappearance, she’ll come to suspect all of those closest to her.


Set against a culture that often fetishizes female homicides, Still Lives is a page-turning exodus into the art world’s hall of mirrors, and one woman’s journey into the belly of an industry flooded with money and secrets.