Northern California writer and musician Alex Dolan is the son of two painters, and understands the kind of transformative passion inspired by art, the focus of his new crime novel, which explores the value and meaning of art through the tale of one painting and two artists, separated by four decades. Laura McHugh, author of The Weight of Blood, praised his work: "A mysterious painting, dark family secrets, and a decades-old vendetta intertwine in Alex Dolan's lush art-world thriller, The Empress of Tempera. An engrossing and fascinating tale with a shocking conclusion that I didn't see coming.” Guest host Neal Griffin (A Voice from the Field) will interview the Thrill Seekers program host.
Good art can make a person cry; great art can make a person kill.
Paire Anjou came to New York to be an artist, but thus far has only achieved an artist boyfriend the "enfant terrible" of the art world, Derek Rosewood. On her way to his show, where his controversial paintings will be on display, Paire sees an older man on the sidewalk, looking into the window of the Fern Gallery, gazing intently at a painting, and sobbing. As Paire approaches him, the man stabs himself in the chest.
The painting that inspired the suicide is a one-off for the gallery the last-known surviving work of a dissident Chinese artist named Qi. An empress, dressed in red, sits imperiously and stares out at the viewer. Paire is but one of the people who stare back, joined by hundreds, from around the world, flocking to the Fern Gallery to observe and obsess over the Empress. The Empress inspires lust and panic, rage and greed. When Paire starts digging into the backstory of the painting, and its artist, she unravels a tale of profound betrayal and a vengeance that spans generations.
She also sets in motion the painting's final heist, a swirling morass of bribery, theft, and murder, drawing Paire deeper and deeper into the underside of the art world, where the greatest works inspire the most vicious of crimes.
In this auspicious debut, Alex Dolan announces himself as a virtuoso of psychological suspense and a rightful heir to masters of the genre like Gillian Flynn and Megan Abbott. A young woman helps to end the lives of people with terminal diseases, her reasons her own. When she helps the wrong person, she will be roped into a plot to gain vengeance on behalf of dozens. Her journey will make her question everything she ever thought she knew about herself. And the last life she ends may be her own.
They know her as Kali. She is there to see them off into the afterlife with kindness, with efficiency, and with two needles. She s been a part of the right-to-die movement for years, an integral member, complicit in the deaths of twenty-seven men and women, all suffering from terminal illnesses.
And she just helped the wrong patient.
Leland Moon has been with the Bureau for his entire career, but even as a respected agent, he was unable to keep his own son from being kidnapped on his way to school. When his boy finally came home, he told terrifying stories of his captors, and his nightmares haven t stopped since.
Moon draws Kali into his mission, a mesmerizing cat-and-mouse game with two ruthless predators one behind bars, one free who hold the secrets that could bring comfort to the families of their victims. This powerful journey towards grace and towards peace will force both Leland and Kali to question everything they believe to be true and just.