THE BLACK PAINTING
By Neil Olson
Publisher: Hanover Square Press (January, 2018)
Reviewed by Cherie Jung
Very atmospheric. Reminiscent of a gothic novel.
A missing or stolen painting rumored to cause insanity or death upon viewing, the remnants of a dysfunctional family, summoned to their ancestral mansion only to find their grandfather who summoned them, dead, seemingly staring in horror where the missing painting once hung. To solve the mystery of the cursed painting’s disappearance and their grandfather’s death, long concealed family secrets must come to light but there are those who prefer to keep them hidden.
I was intrigued by the story. It reminded me of my own dysfunctional family and our hidden secrets. (Except we weren’t wealthy, we didn’t have a crumbling mansion, and we didn’t have a cursed painting.)
I think many readers will find this book engaging while others will find it confusing or unsatisfying, especially if they prefer a smaller, more well-defined cast of characters. I read a lot of psychological suspense books. I’d rate this as average, not disappointing but not great. I’m not regretful that I read it but it is not a book I’ll re-read later.
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