9/26/2006 - Reading The Art of Murder, by Jose Carlos Samoza

On the commute home. The Art of Murder, by Jose Carlos Samoza. The reader said the book was loaned to her by a friend who loved it and, though she's only on page fifty, she's completely hooked. Originally published in Spanish, it tells the story of a murder in a world where people are sold as art. The last book she read was the autobiography of Queen Noor which, though good, wasn't as much of a page turner.

From Booklist: Madrid novelist Somoza's latest thriller to appear in the U.S. (it was originally published in Spain in 2001) concerns a young girl who is found murdered and two police detectives who must find the killer before he strikes again. But it's the world of the novel that captures our interest, not the whodunit aspect. The action takes place in the bizarre subculture of hyperdramatic art, in which the works of art are actual, living people, painted and posed like living mannequins. It is a world in which 14-year-old girls (like the murder victim) can be sold to collectors, not as people but as artworks. And sold for a lot of money, too. It's a fascinating and certainly disquieting underworld, and readers are drawn deep into it by Somoza's stylish prose (nicely translated by Caistor). Fans of mysteries in which the setting takes precedence over the story should be steered toward this one. David Pitt. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Paperback edition.