BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bea Reviews The Art Whisperer by Charlotte & Aaron Elkins

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Series: Alix London #3
Format Read: Kindle book
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review 
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

When art conservator Alix London spots a forgery, she knows trouble will follow. So she’s understandably apprehensive when her connoisseur’s eye spots something off about a multimillion-dollar Jackson Pollock painting at Palm Springs’s Brethwaite Museum—her current employer.
Alix is already under fire, the object of a vicious online smear campaign. Now the Brethwaite’s despicable senior curator, obsessed with the “maximization of monetized eyeballs,” angrily refuses to decommission the celebrated Pollock piece. But it’s only when a hooded intruder attacks Alix in her hotel room that the real trouble begins. And when FBI Special Agent Ted Ellesworth—with whom Alix had inadvertently, but thoroughly, botched a budding relationship just a year prior—turns up to investigate the Pollock, Alix knows she’s about to have her hands full.
In her third mystery, Alix London must see through mirages in the desert to uncover the knotted history of the painting—and save herself in the process.

Bea's Thoughts:

Despite it being the third book in the series, I had no trouble reading this as a stand-alone. It's primarily a mystery but there's a romance also. Alix is an art conservator, hired on a temporary basis to clean up some paintings before they go to auction. When she gets to the museum, she finds strife, politics, and chaos. The chaos and strife are primarily the work of a new supervisor who delights in pitting the employees against each other and making their lives difficult. While Alix is dealing with this, she also has to deal with an online smear campaign and a painting that she feels may be a fake. Then she gets attacked, followed by some murders. There are more murders and murder attempts, fake works of art, and romance; a lot happens in this book.

The Elkins' have a dry sense of humor and this scene made me laugh out loud:

Three smart phones were immediately whipped out of their hiding places and flicked on. Alix knew better than to compete with smart phones, so she just shut up and sipped water while they read...

Despite everything going on, there's not a lot of tension and there's too much exposition. But the mysteries are well done and the characters, both primary and secondary, are interesting. Alix's father and his friend Tiny were  intriguing and I'd love to see more of them. The killer's identity took me completely by surprise. While convoluted, a little too much for my taste, it made sense. The locale is worked into the story and becomes part of the story; it's not Anytown, USA but has its own character. It was also a pleasure to learn more about the art world and the care and restoration of paintings. While I didn't love the book, I did enjoy it and will probably read more in the series.


  1. Love that title! It made me laugh :) Sounds a little bit over dramatic but I like that it kept you guessing. I enjoy mysteries so I'll it in mind.

    1. It was a little over the top at times but it kept my guessing and I liked Alix.

  2. I'll have to try this one! I used to love Aaron Elkins with a series he had on his own (Gideon something or other?) and have been wondering how these were. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I don't think I've read any of those but my friend Patti did and liked them.

  3. Good review, Bea! I think you've pinpointed both the strengths and weaknesses of this series. The Elkins are really, really good at conveying the uniqueness of each location where their books are set. I've enjoyed both the previous books and I like Alix - and her dad. I'm still on the fence about the love interest (assuming it's the same guy - the FBI undercover art guy?) I can start to get annoyed with romantic tension that never gets resolved; I like relationships to go somewhere. But that said, these have been a lot of fun to read. In fact, I've got this one on my Kindle for whenever I take a break from reading ARCs!

    1. Yep, same love interest. Their relationship makes some progress but I could see it easily getting annoying if they don't step up the pace.


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