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THE ART OF DYING
by Diana Killian
Reviewed by Karen Meek
Hilary Jackson is an exceptional painter, living in Steeple Hill, a coastal Californian artists' colony. She's also a strong Christian. When she notices a man waiting at her bus stop, she not only observes his bone structure but also that he is in pain. Unsure as to whether she should interfere, she doesn't and they both make their bus journeys. Walking home she gets another opportunity to aid the troubled man when she finds him sitting in the park. When she discovers that he's hurt and has no idea of who or where he is and why he has a wallet containing cash but no id, she invites him to her flat to rest for a couple of hours and to clean up the wound on his head. After trying out several Christian names, the man thinks he's possibly called Alan.
Hilary puts Alan up for the night but the next morning the newspaper headlines proclaim that a Scotland Yard Inspector, Sir Alexander Napier, has been murdered at a location not far from the bus stop where she first observed Alan. When Hilary confronts Alan he admits to killing Napier by accident and that Napier was trying to kill him.
Hilary, though not completely trusting Alan, wants to believe he's sincere and offers to help him find out who he is and why he was being attacked by a policeman. So begins Hilary and Alan's investigation into art fraud and its connection to the artist's colony.
With this non-series novel, Diana Killian has written a delightful romantic suspense novel. Though the plot twists and turns it ends up where the reader wants it. The writing is crisp, drawing the reader in. It's marketed as a 'Christian' book and yes there are a few quotes and biblical references but don't let that deter you if that's not your cup of tea. For me, it's a shame that this is a stand-alone book as the main characters, especially the strong and likeable Hilary, are people I'd like to read about again.
Slight negative points were that I did find it hard to keep Hilary's landlords, the twins Selena and Serena straight, though this may have been intentional given some of the later events and also that though Alan was British, his speech patterns and document details weren't quite authentic.
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