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The Poison Artist

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  2,330 ratings  ·  424 reviews
Dr. Caleb Maddox is a San Francisco toxicologist studying the chemical effects of pain. After a bruising breakup with his girlfriend, he’s out drinking whiskey when a hauntingly seductive woman appears by his side. Emmeline whispers to Caleb over absinthe, gets his blood on her fingers and then brushes his ear with her lips as she says goodbye. He must find her.

As his sear
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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doris garritt no painting exists in the catalogue of his extensive work, nor can I find anything about anyone named Emiline Penury'...but the description in book do…moreno painting exists in the catalogue of his extensive work, nor can I find anything about anyone named Emiline Penury'...but the description in book does resemble some of his portraits most especially one named I believe "repost"(less)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,330 ratings  ·  424 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
”She fell into a long series of sobs. He’d once read something that came back to him now. There was a pheromone in women’s tears, a chemical signal held over from some cave of prehistory, meant to be a subtle tug on the men it touched. It would be on her face and on her phone, would get onto her fingers when she wiped her cheeks, so that everything and everyone in contact with her would be brushed with the invisible hue of her loneliness. It would disperse like that, one hand to another, through ...more
Jennifer Masterson
Oh my Lord!!! This was one of the most bizarre novels I have ever come across! Mr. Stephen King was correct! This book is terrifying! 4.5 Stars rounded up to 5 for it's originality!

Dr. Caleb Maddox is a toxicologist in San Francisco. He has just gone through a bad breakup. This breakup sets off a chain of events that leads to dead bodies, alcohol, more alcohol and a mysterious woman, and boy is she mysterious!

My Goodreads friends are totally right! Boy oh boy is this creepy! I had goosebumps fo
This dark and alluring read is one that demands patience from the reader. Things don’t immediately make sense. Much like walking through thick San Francisco fog, it’s hard to decipher the path that Jonathan Moore is heading down with this story. His words act as a compass, navigating the way through the haze of absinthe, toxicology results, loneliness and obsession. It’s often confusing and a tad bit slow in the beginning, but there was something that kept nagging me - the feeling that I was mis ...more

An atmospheric San Francisco is the setting for this DARK super creepy, slowly unfolding, frightfully good haunted story of toxicologist Caleb Maddox.

Painstakingly distressed over the violent and recent breakup with his live-in girlfriend, Caleb decides to wallow his troubles away in drink when a mysterious woman in black sits down next to him awakening a DARK buried desire and setting him on a path of wicked dreams and forgotten memories.

With secrets on top of secrets, this

I received a free copy of this from the publisher for review.

Caleb Maddox is a toxicologist who just wants to drown his sorrows after an ugly breakup with his girlfriend. At a bar he meets the beautiful and bewitching Emmeline who has a taste for absinthe but then vanishes into the night. Caleb is instantly obsessed and determined to find her, but he finds himself getting drawn into the investigation of several murders when he tries to track her down.

Nothing good happens when you start chasing t
Diane S ☔
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
A man walks into a bar. After a possible relationship ending incident with his girlfriend, he is in desperate need of a drink. He notices a beautiful woman in a black dress, has a small interaction with her and is intrigued. Sounds like the beginning of a noir thriller, doesn't it? I thought so but I was wrong. It morphs into a murder mystery, a character study and much more.

The mans name is Caleb and he is a toxicologist who is helping his longtime friend Henry, who is the medical examiner. Th
Dan Schwent
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books, 2016
After having a fight with his girlfriend, toxicologist Caleb Maddox meets an alluring, mysterious woman in a bar and becomes obsessed with her. As he tracks the woman down, he gets entangled in a case involving people being poisoned and dumped in San Francisco bay. But what was his fight with his girlfriend about and what dark secret is he hiding? Will his obsession get in the way of solving the case or will he find himself trapped in something a thousand times as sinister?

I got this book from t
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Have you seen.......?

Hundreds and hundreds of flyers shoved into the hands of passing strangers, tacked onto wooden poles, stapled onto laundromat bulletin boards. Have you seen this missing man and many, many others like him?

San Francisco boasts of a beautiful bay and an enticing, jaw-dropping view. That is until the nudge of a floating body comes alongside your boat. Well-dressed, successful men who have come to a very, very bad end. And the medical examiner, Henry, is perplexed as to why the
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2016
You know that thriller that keeps you up until 2:30 in the morning because you just have to know how it all ends? Yeah, this book. I loved it!!!!

“The Poison Artist” is a dark and brooding urban noir thriller about Caleb Maddox, a man with a troubled past who runs the toxicology research lab at UCSF. Caleb is struggling with a recent breakup with his long-term girlfriend and work pressures when a mysterious femme fatale insinuates herself into his life. At the same time, Caleb’s friend Henry, a m
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, oh wow!! This is exactly the type of psychological thriller that I love. It is so well written and kept me guessing right up until the end. It was taut, creepy, spine tingling and kept the adrenaline flowing throughout the read. No blood, guts or gore which I have a hard time with. The tension is all about the the incredible way the killer is doing away with the victims.

Caleb is a scientist who is currently rese
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Yuck. Bizarre and a little too twisted for my taste. Creepy and very atmospheric, it was possibly quite well done but I couldn't get past the absurdity of the nineteen forties noir blending seamlessly into present day. There was something missing for me. The mix of confusing toxicology work, the mystery woman, the unexplained breakup, the everything-out-of-reach/what-is-going-on-here plot and main character left me disinterested overall. I don't mind being left in the dark with a thriller but th ...more
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
This book was nearly the death of me. I started it in February but no matter how much I read or picked it up it just did not excite me at all. I found the plot dragged on and nothing remotely creepy or scary was going on. Did I read a different book?

It was just bland and the characters so uninteresting. This was a huge disappointment after a lot of hype. I literally persisted but didn't enjoy it. Next please!

2 stars as I really didn't like the book at all or think it anything special compared to
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting literary mystery, featuring Dr Caleb Maddox. We first meet Caleb when he has just broken up with his girlfriend, artist Bridget. She has hurled a glass at him during an argument and he retreats to a hotel and the bottle. Wandering the bars on a cold, San Francisco night, he meets a woman who intrigues him to the point of obsession. When he is later interviewed by Inspector Kennon and Garcia, he discovers that a man in the bar has been killed, but he omits to tell the detec ...more
The Poison Artist is a hallucinatory noir/thriller/mystery novel written by attorney and seasoned author: Jonathan Moore. The Poison Artist started out feeling first and foremost like pretty dry detective fiction in my opinion, but eerie events, slowly revealed character history, and random appearances from a silent-film styled vixen created creepy suspense with several doses of mysterious sensuality. The flow of the story is pretty slow-going but it definitely ends with a bang that I didn't
I can't remember why I requested this on NetGalley, as it's not my preferred genre.

This review will be relatively short, as it's hard to say much without giving away spoilers.

The main character is Caleb Maddox, who's a chemist/scientist in San Francisco, studying, amongst other things, a way to quantify pain thresholds. He's recently broken up with his partner and finds himself drifting, most of the time in a state of inebriation. He's recently discovered a fondness for absinthe. There's also a
Feb 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Melanie by: High praise from Carol & Jennifer
I liked this book. It started out a bit slow and plodding (imo), but the last 100 pages or so I had to read in one sitting! When I finished and thought back to a certain scene, ewww, gruesome! It was a very atmospheric read. I love when an author has the ability to really make me feel the setting (which this one definitely did)!
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bill by: Kemper
Shelves: mystery-suspense
I'm shocked at the 3.56 average rating for this book.

This was a five star for me very early on but this low average kept niggling in the back of my mind, worrying me that as good as this was going, eventually Moore was going to crap the bed on this one.

Didn't happen.

I absolutely loved Jonathan Moore's writing. His storytelling has a lot of depth: a skilled mixture of plotlines, all the while brilliantly holding back some of Caleb's history, which made this such an enticing read right up until th
Jan 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
DNF @15%

What a bore of a book... Jesus nothing happens in the first 6 chapters

The friggin tax act is more interesting than this novel
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
I’ve had great luck with some of Stephen King’s recommendations (The Troop, You, Rebecca, among others). According to King, The Poison Artist is “terrifying.” I’m baffled by this, as I found it disappointing, predictable, and not the slightest bit scary.

I will say Moore’s San Francisco setting is atmospheric and enjoyably noirish, and his writing is perfectly fine. However, the characterizations and plot are lackluster.

The main character, Caleb, is unbearably boring, his girlfriend Bridget is
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Horror, mystery and intrigue at its finest.

I was skeptical in believing 'The Poison Artist' could actually be as terrifying as the reviews indicated. Well. . . it was - and then some! Excellent!
Terri Wino
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: year-2016
2-1/2 stars, but I'll round it up to 3.
I had high expectations for this book, based on the 4 and 5 star ratings and reviews about how creepy it was. Unfortunately, I just didn't get it.
The first 100 or so pages were just weird and boring to me. I've read plenty of books where you, the reader, are kept in the dark about what's really going on and things are revealed bit by bit. However, for the majority of this story, I felt like I was stumbling around in the dark and fog as much as Caleb was. Yo
Dark, creepy, hypnotic

I was hooked from the very first page. It felt like walking through fog -which is in fact a constant companion in the atmospheric San Francisco setting. Step by step, we go into the life of toxicologist Caleb Maddox. At first we just get a glimpse of things. Vague images. Shadows. Then, characters appear, questions arise, secrets from the past emerge. Mystery turns into murder, which then turns into something else.

I enjoyed the detailed portrayal of the venues and certain
Kim Kaso
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is interesting to read a mystery that does not feel like it is starting a franchise, at least not with its central character. It is a breath of something new, not fresh so much as foggy & noir-ish & menacing. The fog without makes me think of the absinthe clouding in the glass. The city and the absinthe seem like supporting characters in this elegantly written, strange suspense story. And a fictional painting by John Singer Sargent--perfection.

Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Poison Artist" starts out dark and gets darker. It is the black that absorbs all light and leaves you groping for a tiny particle of reality, any little corner of San Francisco that resembles the San Francisco you knew before the clock began running backwards.
A warning: If you are ever in a bar and you are approached by a woman wearing a filmy black dress who drinks absinthe, don't bother to abandon all hope. It was too late years ago.
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5- for me beginning was draggy. V spooky atmosphere-esp end. Had it narrowed down to 4 possible suspects( there are only 4 main people in story-I am quite a gifted detective). Ending reminded me of...oops that would have been a spoiler "fer sure." ...more
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: suspense
In Jonathan Moore's incredibly intelligent and creepy psychological horror/suspense novel The Poison Artist, San Francisco toxicologist Caleb Maddox has an emotional breakup with his girlfriend and is nursing his misery over a few drinks in a nondescript bar. He meets a femme-fatale type over a class of absinthe and becomes infatuated with this woman whose obsession with secrecy is as mysterious and enticing as the timing in which they meet. There happens to be a number of other stressful events ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller, mpd
I wasn't really sure what to expect from this one - I generally try not to read too much about a thriller before starting it because I love to be surprised by a plot line, and I am glad that I did for this one. So I will do my best to review this without revealing anything - or hinting at anything. Because going into this one without any expectations (I am unfamiliar with the author, too) really made this a fun and fast-paced read. It opens with a very noir style - the main character, Caleb, has ...more
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
WOW!Just wow:)The unfolding of this story from the very beginning.This book over took my life as soon as I started to read it.Just by the first 2 pages I knew it was different than anything I have ever read in this genre.The Poison Artist is a story dealing with the dangers of obsession and the dark side of desire.Like someone else said "This was one of the most bizarre novels I have ever come across!" ...more
David Putnam
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book. The writing craft is excellent. I hope he keeps writing. I have already read his next on, The Dark Room loved that one as well.
Liz Barnsley
The Poison Artist was a deeply disturbing, creepy read that really grabbed me - some incredibly atmospheric writing and a google inducing concept meant that this one had an awful lot going for it.

Caleb is a scientist who is basically falling apart. An incident from his childhood haunts him and despite his intelligence and scientific training he really is a bit of a mess. Working currently on a project about pain, he meets and becomes obsessed with an enigmatic woman he meets one night out drinki
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Jonathan Moore is an Edgar Award and Hammett Prize nominated author of six novels.

His third novel, THE POISON ARTIST, was a selection of the BBC Radio 2 Book Club. His novel THE NIGHT MARKET was optioned as a feature film by Amazon Studios and Mandeville Films, and his books have been translated into 12 languages.

Before graduating from law school in New Orleans, he lived in Taiwan for three years

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