Still Lives by Maria Hummel

Twelve shocking paintings.
Eleven famous murders.
One missing artist…

Kim Lord is an avant-garde figure, feminist icon, and agent provocateur in the L.A. art scene. Her groundbreaking new exhibition Still Lives is comprised of self-portraits depicting herself as famous, murdered women—the Black Dahlia, Chandra Levy, Nicole Brown Simpson, among many others—and the works are as compelling as they are disturbing, implicating a culture that is too accustomed to violence against women.

As the city’s richest art patrons pour into the Rocque Museum’s opening night, all the staff, including editor Maggie Richter, hope the event will be enough to save the historic institution’s flailing finances. Except Kim Lord never shows up to her own gala. Fear mounts as the hours and days drag on and Lord remains missing. Suspicion falls on the up-and-coming gallerist Greg Shaw Ferguson, who happens to be Maggie’s ex. A rogue’s gallery of eccentric art world figures could also have motive for the act, and as Maggie gets drawn into her own investigation of Lord’s disappearance, she’ll come to suspect all of those closest to her.

Set against a culture that often fetishizes violence, Still Lives is a page-turning exodus into the art world’s hall of mirrors, and one woman’s journey into the belly of an industry flooded with money and secrets.


I was drawn to this novel by the fantastic brightly coloured cover and the blurb.  It is also worth noting that this was also Reese Witherspoon’s August Hello Sunshine Book Club pick!  It is a mystery centred around the contemporary art scene and I found this a new and interesting setting.

Still Lives is a murder mystery thriller set in Los Angeles. The author gives us plenty of surprises and has the reader quickly immersed in the story. I found it a very intriguing thriller with an easy to follow storyline and interesting characters. There is a deeply chilling aspect to the book which I found disturbing at times but carried on reading… I would recommend this book to those who enjoy murder mystery thrillers which are a bit different from the majority out there!

Thank you to Quercus Books for the opportunity to read and review this novel.


  • TITLE: Still Lives
  • AUTHOR: Maria Hummel
  • PUBLISHER: Quercus Books
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 15 November 2018
  • ISBN: 9781787479562
  • FORMAT: Hardback
  • LENGTH: 372 pages


GoodReads, Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble


Maria Hummel is the author of Motherland, a San Francisco Chronicle Book of the Year. She has worked as a writer/editor at MOCA in Los Angeles, then received a Stegner Fellowship at Standford University and taught there for many uyears. She is currently an assistant professir at the University of Vermont, and lives iin Vermont with her husband and sons.

You can interact with Maria Hummel on her website,  and on Twitter and Goodreads

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