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Still Lives

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  13,027 ratings  ·  898 reviews
Kim Lord is an avant-garde figure, feminist icon, and agent provocateur in the L.A. art scene. Her groundbreaking new exhibition Still Lives is comprised of self-portraits depicting 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 t ...more
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Counterpoint Press
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Meredith What is pretentious about homemade pie and wanting to be understood? I mean, the art scene is a bit uppity, but the characters I've encountered so…moreWhat is pretentious about homemade pie and wanting to be understood? I mean, the art scene is a bit uppity, but the characters I've encountered so far, are perhaps different than me, but very relatable! (less)
Nels Highberg I bet because the iPhones of today would have been too useful. They could record audio and video and take photos, and the reception would be stronger…moreI bet because the iPhones of today would have been too useful. They could record audio and video and take photos, and the reception would be stronger throughout the city. For the story, it's better not to have that technology available.(less)

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Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: artists, mysteries
”For the four years I’ve lived in Los Angeles, the Rocque Museum has been my workplace and my university, offering me a degree in contemporary art and the cosmopolitan life---brilliant as the blues in a Sam Francis painting, decadent as a twenty-four-karat cast of a cat testicle. Most days pass in a pleasurable blur of words and pictures. Most nights I hate to leave my little office, especially on April evenings like this, when I can look over my mess of proofs, out to the greening city, and ima ...more
May 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: botm, i-own-it, 2018
This was a pretty disappointing read. The description made it sound like a book that was right up my alley. And while everything mentioned in the blurb does in fact happen in the book, it's not told in as thrilling of a way as you might expect. In fact, for a 275 page book, the first 100-150 pages or so are fairly unexciting. Things happen and you (sort of) get to know the characters, but it's not very engaging.

Another issue I had with this book was that I never felt like I was able to understan
Larry H
Jun 08, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

The Rocque Museum was one of Los Angeles' hidden treasures—an art museum for art lovers and collectors more than for tourists. While this set the institution apart, this also took a toll on its finances. Everyone is desperate for a hit exhibition, including the founder's daughter, who is tired of bailing out the museum and the director, who is worried about job security.

They think they've found it in Still Lives , an exhibition by artist and provocateur Kim Lord. Lord painted self-por
Diane S ☔
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The glittering world of art can be at once insightful and nasty. Set in L. A at a prestigious gallery that is having money problems, a new show featuring the avant garde, often shocking Kim Lord. Her latest installations are paintings of women who were mudered in Los Angeles, including Nicole zBrown Simpson and the Black Dahlia. Lord uses her own face and body but the manner of death is prominently and sometimes graphically displayed. Maggie, a copy editor and proof reader for the museum, has ro ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maria Hummel immerses us in the art world of Los Angeles, a corrupt city of dreams and ambitions, mythic in its glamour and legendary in its violence in this Noir thriller. Kim Lord is returning to the contemporary art scene after 1o years away, with a controversial but arresting exhibition of still lives portraits of famous murders of women such as Nicole Brown Simpson, Chandra Levy and the Black Dahlia. Kim Lord herself portrays each murder victim, some see this as beyond good taste, part of t ...more
Elyse Walters
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Not every woman fantasizes about being a sex slave or starlet or murder victim! Some of us just want to get sucked into a good novel and grow our own tomatoes one day when we have more time”.

How might you feel if your ex boyfriend
opens up an Art Gallery.... offers you a dream job ...then begins shacking up with *Kim Lord*....whose ‘every’ painting,
“is so powerful it makes your eyes bleed”.
.....who also happens to be a ‘no show’
at her grand Galla art exhibition with over 300 guests expected?
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Still Lives takes the reader on a mystery set in the L.A. art world.A famous artist, Kim Lord, goes missing on the opening night of her exhibit, "Still Lives."The exhibit is controversial because the portraits are of famous women like the Black Dahlia, Nicole Brown Simpson and other murdered women.There is definitely a lot of buzz and talk around the exhibit. When no one can find Lord on opening night, Maggie Richter, one of the museums editors, decides to investigate for herself.Mystery, suspen ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Make your life about the things and the people that matter to you, the ones worth saving. Keep them well and let the dead go. The dead already know their ending.

A literary mystery surrounding the disappearance of an enigmatic painter set in the world of museums and galleries drew me to this story, but it was the author’s writing that kept me reading. Hummel manages to infuse the narrative with a noir quality as she exposes the underbelly of Los Angeles along with some nefarious art world collect
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Kim Lord is a famous artist with a very controversial show about to open when she mysteriously disappears. Editor Maggie Richter finds herself sucked in to the scandal as she tries to figure out what happened to Kim, while struggling to reconcile with her own demons.

I had a lot of hope for this book - set in Los Angeles, art world, scandal....but, something just didn't click with me. I could not get into the story or the characters. I am clearly in the minority as this book is winning awards lik
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 Stars!

Thank you to Counterpoint Press for sending me a free finished copy of Still Lives!

This book's subject matter is unlike anything I've read before. It centers around the art community which frankly I don't have much knowledge of. Ultimately this book is a mystery about a missing person but the way the author wove in the Art community was very interesting.

Kim Lord is a famous artist and it's her opening night of a her new exhibit. She takes on a tough subject when it comes to her art: abus
Book of the Month
Why I Love it
by Sarah Bedwell

In the world of mystery novels, there’s an elephant in the room that no one’s talking about: society’s fascination with violence against women. Don’t get me wrong, I love this genre, but sometimes I find myself wanting a little more feminism to go with all the female victimhood. Luckily, I found this in Still Lives, a suspenseful, splashy story about fame, sex, and how our culture views women’s bodies.

Kim Lord is a prominent and provocative artist whose new show—a se
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
You can find all of my reviews here!

1/5 – DNF at pg. 234 (85%)

TW: mentions of graphic crimes against women and murder

Well, here we are. Another DNF review from me. And I was so sure that I would like this book!

The basic premise of this is that Kim Lord is an artist. She exploits people for her exhibits. This time, she exploits women who were murdered in horrible crimes. Nicole Brown Simpson, The Black Dahlia, Chandra Levy, and many others. The night that her exhibit is supposed to open, she neve
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery, thriller
"Still Lives offers its readers a combination of entertainment and brilliance. It's at once profound and suspenseful, 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."—
Kim Lord is an avant-garde figure, feminist icon, and agent provocateur in the L.A. art scene. Her groundbreaking new exhibitio
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still Lives is a refreshingly original take on the contemporary thriller set in glamorous Los Angeles. It focuses on the disappearance of controversial artist Kim Lord and uncovers some of the darkness hidden behind the scenes of the LA art world. There are plenty of surprises and I found myself completely immersed in the story and the wonderful setting. If you appreciate intriguing thrillers that are both chilling and disturbing, you will find much to enjoy here. The writing was easy to connect ...more
Cindy Burnett
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

Still Lives is a fascinating read set in Los Angeles that focuses on the disappearance of an up-and-coming artist right before the opening night of her exhibition. The book is significantly darker and more grim than I usually tolerate, but the originality of the plot and the subject matter kept me reading at a furious pace to find what was going to happen next.

Maggie Richter works as an editor at the Rocque Museum and has mixed feelings about Kim Lord’s exhibition, self-portraits of Lo
Jessica Sullivan
“Never look for the what. Find the who. Who gets hurt. Who gains. Whose life will never be the same.”

I’ve seen some reviews lamenting that this isn’t the thrilling page-turner they expected, and that’s true, it isn’t. It’s more of a slow burn noir about the LA art world, with a missing woman at the center.

On the opening night of her new museum exhibition featuring self-portraits in which she depicts herself as famous murdered women, artist Kim Lord disappears.

Maggie Richter, who works at the mus
Pamela Glass
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book has received some bewilderingly high reviews. I was surprised at how slowly this "thriller" moved. It wasn't a difficult read by any means, and as a person with interests in art and it's strange intersection with capitalism, as well as feminism and the incredibly high numbers of acts of violence against women, it seemed like a really promising premise. Sadly, I found reading it a chore.

Hummel goes into such intricate detail describing very famous murders and kidnappings, not just once,
Jessica Woodbury
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, crime-mystery
When a crime novel is set in a very specific place or time or industry, it can sometimes feel more like a gimmick than something where the story flows organically from it. But in STILL LIVES, more than any novel about art in my recent memory, the gallery and the art all feel alive and honest. Perhaps the thing that's bothered me most about novels about art and artists is the way the reader just has to accept that the art is vibrant and interesting, often it fails to appear that way on the page. ...more
Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
I'm quickly coming to realize that books about possession or art just don't work for me all that well. While this one is centered around a missing artist and the behind the scenes of where she could possibly be, the underlying world of art and what people consider art just does not interest me.

At one point, I thought this was going to go in the direction of Exhibit Alexandra and I was going to be REALLY MAD about it. Thankfully it did NOT. For that I thank you, Hummel.

I think this book is more
Roman Clodia
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"She also says that unless women artists simultaneously inhabit the roles of artist and subject, the art world will never escape the prison of the male gaze"

This may not be the first book to make literary capital out of the juxtaposition of contemporary art, sexualised violence against women and murder, but it weaves its themes together with considerable deftness to create something that is immensely readable while constructed on a foundation of feminist aesthetics.

The first person narrator,
Anna At A Wondrous Bookshelf
Everyone seems to be giving this book at least 4 stars but in reality just like art is subjective so are books. I really, and I mean, really struggled with this book at least until 60% of the story. It’s not that it is a badly written book, it was just boring and slow. The other half of the book gets a bit better but the ending did not wow me and by the time I was done with the book I was tired of reading it.

I’d like to thank Edelweiss for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my hon
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Honestly. One of the worst books I have read this year. However it is not for a lack of trying. I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters and the story never seemed to get off the ground. I was really disappointed because I was looking forward to reading this and it was a let down.
I skimmed half the book just to figure out what happened at the end.
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Picked up this audiobook on Hoopla. It was a botm pick previously, so I thought I’d give it a try. But, like many contemporary murder mystery/thrillers, I found the story unrealistic, plot thin, and characters ridiculous. I don’t understand why women in these stories all make such bad decisions. This one was a disappointment for me, and I’m starting to think that this just isn’t my genre.
Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
I wanted to love this one, I really did, but it just didn’t work for me. Maybe it’s a case of right book, wrong time, but at the moment this one fell wide of the mark for me!
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
*3.5 stars rounded up.

Maggie Richter works for a private art museum in L.A. and they are getting ready to present an exhibit of paintings by Kim Lord called Still Lives, depicting the gruesome deaths of several young women, all famous cases torn from the headlines. Kim has also been living with Maggie's former lover Greg, and this still rankles with the broken-hearted Maggie. On the night of the Grand Opening, Kim is a no-show and soon her disappearance is investigated as a possible murder, wit
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Maggie works in an art gallery where an exciting new exhibition is premiering. The exhibition is by Kim Lord, and includes self-portraits depicting herself as famous murder victims. On opening night, Kim is a no-show. As hours and days pass, it appears something sinister may have happened to Kim. Maggie starts asking questions, and trying to piece together what has happened to Kim.

This story is told from Maggie's point of view. As Maggie looks into Kim's disappearance, she learns more about her
May 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this -- I love a good mystery -- but I just found it really unconvincing, especially the big reveals and all the details to be tied up at the end.
Ashley Murphy
May 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
Too many words. All over the place. And just boring. An interesting concept, but it just felt flat.
Praise for “Still Lives” by Maria Hummel

A May BOOK OF THE MONTH Selection Amazon
1 of 22 New Books to Read This Summer (TIME)
1 of 20 New Books to Read in June (Entertainment Weekly)
1 of 30 Exciting New Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List (Buzzfeed)

The above is what attracted me to “Still Lives”. The novel has gotten a lot of press, so naturally I must read it lol. “Still Lives” is a thriller set in the art scene of Los Angeles. I learned that still life paintings started because women weren’
Liz Barnsley
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Still Lives is a quietly observant, beautifully written noir mystery, set against the backdrop of the LA art world, the glitz and the politics and the dark dark heart lurking underneath it all.
Leading us through this landscape is Maggie, left drifting through this world after a relationship break up – Her ex is now involved with edgy, current artist Kim Lord, a shadowy figure throughout most of the narrative, yet the reason for it, whose disappearance on the opening night of her new show sends s
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“There’s a large class of men who can’t endure humor in a woman.” 2 likes
“there is an end for women worse than death.” 0 likes
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