The first hundred or so pages of this book nearly put me into a coma from boredom. I was so tempted to give up on the book completely and find something more interesting to read. Thankfully, it gets better...but not a whole lot. And like a lot of others have said, the ending left a lot to be desired.
For a lot of the book, it reads like a bunch of random scenes slapped together with no flow or cohesiveness. The early chapters are rather short and every single one jumps to a different focus character - of which there are many. Your reading about the hero, then the heroine, then a famous artist lady, then an old rich dude, then the old dude's son, then the old dude's daughter, and then the old dude's ex-son-in-law/right-hand-man/crooked-sheriff. Every time my interest would start to pick up, the chapter would end and the next one would jump to something completely different. Usually something about the rich guy and his family, who I really couldn't have cared less about. All the jumping around left me feeling like I hardly knew anybody until halfway through the book. Plus it was just way too many focus characters. And add to that all the dead characters that played a role, and I couldn't keep them straight. You needed a family tree to remember who all the members of the rich guy's family were.
The romance and the characters were okay. I did like Lacey and Ian, and their romance was okay, but the development was superficial. I never felt like I really knew the characters all that well. Lowell didn't give them much depth, only gave small tid bits of their histories without ever really giving them a full background. I just wanted to know more about these characters who were the focus of the book.
The suspense was so-so. The book really wasn't all that suspenseful. I knew who the bad guy was going to be from very early on and I knew what the story was going to be on the mystery artist fairly early too. I thought all the characters were rather dumb for not figuring it out until the very end.
And the end of the book? Ugh. It was like the author was tired of the story and just slapped the ending together with as little explanation as possible. I finished the book and wasn't quite sure what exactly had gone on and not everything felt resolved. It left me unsatisfied.
My favorite part of the book was the dialogue. Not in the sense that it was very eloquent or anything like that. It was just very real and down-to-earth. The characters said things that you could honestly expect them to say. Nothing was prettied up to be P.C. I really enjoyed that. And even though I'm not an art fan, Lowell did a pretty good job presenting the art side of the book.
Overall, the book wasn't as bad as I thought it would be in the beginning, but it was too scattered and superficial. And about 100 pages or so too long (it was 518 pages). I never particularly felt like I had a vested interest in the characters or the plot. I kinda just kept reading because I'd started the book and I hate not finishing something.