Tuesday, May 27, 2008

REVIEW

Blue Smoke and Murder - by Elizabeth Lowell (on sale May 27th in hardcover)Meet Jillian "Jill" Breck. A white-water river guide, ex-Fundamentalist Mormon, artist, new owner to 13 un-signed paintings by a famous Western genre artist, and the woman who once saved the life of the son of two of St Kilda Consulting's premier operators. They now owe her...and it's time for Jill to collect. You see, Jill just had her vehicle totally vandalized, one of the questionable paintings shredded and a death threat issued.Meet Zach Balfour a part-time consultant for St. Kilda and ready to finish a long awaited vacation. With his expertise in gathering information and analyzing it, he isn't so happy to learn that he is needed to cut short his plans to "baby-sit" Jill. Until he meets her and realizes that this in NOT just another babysitting job. Jill is an earthy, smart, woman who is used to looking out for herself. She can guide people through the tumbling rapids of the Colorado river and discuss Zach's favorite topic. But now people are setting fires and shooting at her.This fast paced, action driven, very well researched, romantic suspense/ thriller takes us deep into the world of very high priced Western genre art and the people who perpetuate millions of dollars in art fraud each year. While some may say that Ms Lowell over-emphasizes the technical part of painting, collecting art, and the manner in which one may perpetuate a fraud...I found it to be highly interesting; both in learning about the Western genre Masters, of painting and the technical side of collecting. Ms Lowell does a very fine job combining these issues with a wonderfully fast paced cat and mouse game with Jill's life at stake and a blossoming romance between Jill and Zach that never seems to stretch credibility. Jill and Zach, along with the secondary and tertiary characters are very well drawn, well fleshed and believable. The situations that Ms Lowell puts Zach and Jill in never make me need to fight for the suspension of disbeliefI loved this book right from the very first chapter until the nail biting conclusion, and have already ordered the other 2 books in the St Kilda's series. I certainly hope we hear more about these men and women of St. Kilda's.I added this link for the members of B&C because I thought that this showed how well researched Ms Lowell books are: http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/bestseller-eliabeth-lowell-illuminates-shadowy-world-art-fraud/

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