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The Black Painting

3.03  ·  Rating details ·  559 ratings  ·  129 reviews
An old-money East Coast family faces the suspicious death of its patriarch and the unsolved theft of a Goya painting rumored to be cursed

There were four cousins in the Morse family: perfect Kenny, the preppy West Coast lawyer; James, the shy but brilliant medical student; his seductive, hard-drinking sister Audrey; and Teresa, youngest and most fragile, haunted by the fear
Hardcover, 315 pages
Published January 9th 2018 by Hanover Square Press
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3.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  559 ratings  ·  129 reviews

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Why This Book
I stumbled on this via NetGalley several months ago. The cover was creepy and it revolved around a family mystery involving a missing painting and the death of a grandfather. I had to add it to my TBR, then they awarded it to me. I am trying to clear off all NetGalley books by 12/31 so I can start the new year with a clean slate, so this was last week's choice.

Plot, Characters & Setting
The Morse family head passes away, leaving behind a few children and four grandchildre
Jan 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
1.5 for the Goya parts

This was a book that might encourage one to go into a reading slump. There was a lot going for it, a creepy house, a rich family with lots of secrets, and the piece de resistance...a painting that supposedly had a demon living inside it. The demon supposedly gave fortune and perhaps a bit of fame to the person who owned the painting. In exchange for this largess, the demon must be set free eventually by destroying the painting. But really, who is going to destroy a painting
Patricia Romero
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, suspense
There is no doubt that Goya's paintings are disturbing. And this mysterious and suspenseful was just as disturbing.

15 years after the theft of the supposedly cursed painting, the four cousins are summoned back to the house of their grandfather. When Teresa and Audrey arrive they find the man dead. His face a frozen mask of horror and fear.

Questions fly as they find out the boys had all ready met with the grandfather and now not only is the man dead, but his housekeeper is missing.

When the entire
Can't quite put my finger on why this didn't resonate with me but it didn't. It may have been because I couldn't warm up to any of the characters and the whole story seemed rather flat.

Or, maybe it was just my mood. Sometimes that happens.

Thanks to the publisher for the advance reading copy.
Four cousins summoned back by their grandfather...

The death of a family patriarch...

An old, mysterious house...

A painting by Goya that has a demon lurking inside it...

And a family with dark secrets...

This is what you can expect when you read The Black Painting by Neil Olson, scheduled to be released in January of 2018. 

The mystery surrounding who took the painting from the parsimonious, rapacious grandfather (after he has quite possibly obtained it from the black market) remains mysterious throu
Tom Mathews
I’ve often enjoyed novels about art and art history So much can be hidden in works of art that they are the perfect topic to base a mystery on. I remember reading a few years ago, that art curators had discovered in a portrait a miniature self-portrait of the artist rendered as the reflection in the pupil of eye the subject painted century’s before. I digress, but this is an example of the fascinating things that make the art world the perfect setting for a novel.

Neil Olson apparently agrees as
Angel Hench
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This book reminds me of the gothic mysteries I read as a young teenager - a crazy family, money to inherit, secrets everywhere, a mysterious painting. A quick, entertaining read.

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure why I read this book since I didn't much like any of the characters and I'm not a fan of Goya's art.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
More of a mystery novel than anything supernatural. This novel was pretty good, and kept me entertained throughout it. The cast was a mix of horrible people, only a couple with some redeeming properties. Goya and his paintings being the best, or course.
Emily Woo Zeller was the Narrator, and she was very good at this. I will have to find more of her audiobooks.
This novel gets 3.5 stars, and is recommended to art lovers, and mystery lovers.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
Nothing invokes more sympathy than a tale about squabbling, over-privileged, entitled rich brats squabbling over money when their equally asshole-y patriarch grandfather dies unexpectedly.

The Morse cousins have been persona non grata ever since a priceless Goya painting disappeared from their grandfather's study years ago.

Suspicions arose between the family on the theft of the lurid self-portrait of the famous artist which legend says can cause madness and insanity if you look at it.

When their
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
Sadly, this is another disappointing book club book. But perhaps worse than the other duds we've been choosing lately. It was filled with annoying, yet flat and one-dimensional characters and a story that spun around really telling nothing - certainly not as much about the painting or the curse as might have been hoped.

We're desperate for a book club book that is going to knock our socks off. Unfortunately this wasn't the one to do that for us...again. :-(
Stacey Camp
Thank you to the author, Neil Olson, Netgalley, and the publisher for providing me an advanced reader copy of this book.

I rated this book 2.5 stars. I was so disappointed with this book because it had so much promise. The setting and atmosphere lured me in: an old, mysterious house, a painting by Goya that supposedly has a demon lurking inside it, and a family with dark secrets. All this sounds great, right?

This book is a case study in what happens when characters aren't fully developed, and whe
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars

Looking at some of the prior low reviews for this book, I was happy to find it well written, good characters, a believable mystery- with a good dose of creepiness thrown in- and the ending had a good twist. There was a sag of momentum mid book and questionable road trip in the last third of the book but an otherwise readable interesting story.
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fifteen years ago, the Morse cousins left the family estate right after the theft of a painting that is known for its ancient evil history, with the power of killing the beholder after viewing it. And now the cousins are summoned back to their old home.

The story starts with Teresa, discovering her grandfather's dead body in his study. And now, after the entire family gathers inside the house, she sets on finding clues about the painting's thief and her grandfather's mysterious death, with the h
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun, satisfying family drama with nods to Agatha Christie.
Inn Auni
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller
The Black Paintings is the name given to a group of fourteen paintings by Francisco Goya from the later years of his life, likely between 1819 and 1823. They portray intense, haunting themes, reflective of both his fear of insanity and his bleak outlook on humanity. So, when I discovered this book, I was excited especially with the awesome blurb.

Unfortunately, the Black Painting by Neil Olson is a complex tale. The author clearly writes well, but I think the characters didn't match the plot in t
Meghan (TheBookGoblin)
DNF for now, just not holding my attention. May go back to it since the writing was decent and it had promise but it’s just not what I’m in the mood for
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, suspense
I rounded up to 4 stars because of Olson's use of the Goya paintings.

Goya's Black Paintings are mysterious enough in appearance and in creation, but Neil Olson's novel gives an even more sinister legacy to the black painting owned by the patriarch of the Morse family.

Fifteen years earlier, Alfred Arthur Morse's black painting was stolen, causing accusations, suspicion, and the estrangement of family members. Now, the four cousins have been summoned to their grandfather's estate. Teresa and Aud
Amirah Jiwa
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
So glad I read this absorbing, terrifying book during the day, otherwise I'm sure it would have resulted in some serious insomnia or nightmares. It's wonderful though: a well-written and compelling mystery that is easy to follow despite the myriad of characters and key events involved. About halfway through, I started to prepare myself for imminent disappointment because the narrative had just set expectations so high and the ending couldn't possibly deliver, but it did. Think Donna Tartt's 'The ...more
Tara Lewis
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy.

A mystery surrounding a lost painting by Goya? A disfunctional family? An old house full of secrets?

Yes, please.

This book really engrossed me. I enjoyed all of the characters and it was so atmospheric. The characters were plausible, perhaps with the exception of Audrey who at times felt a bit over the top but hey, she was an over the top kind of girl. My only gripe was that I figured out the mystery fairly early on, however that d
Heather Boundy
I read this in page-proof, with the blurb describing it as a 'psychological thriller'. This description is a bit extreme for me as I don't think it really worked on that level. It was readable, but certainly not gripping, in the way that a truly good Crome novel should be. Some of the relationships between family members I found unconvincing, as was the 'fear' of the Goya painting in question.Not one I would recommend.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Teresa's Grandfather owned a black painting by Goya. Supposedly it put a curse on the family causing all sorts of problems - they are certainly dramatically dysfunctional. It was stolen 15 years ago causing a rift through the family that never healed. However, Teresa has now been summonded back to the house at Owl's Point by her Grandfather.
I knew nothing about Goya's black paintings before I stated this book so that was an interesting addition to the storyline. Personally I felt the author over
Suspense Magazine
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This one may just have you staying away from artwork for the rest of your life!

A Goya painting has been rumored to cause madness to anyone who stares at it too long. One clan, by the name of Morse, has that particular painting in their family. It hung on a wall in their grandfather’s estate, a mansion named Owl’s Point, before the painting was suddenly stolen.

There are four cousins in the Morse family: One is a lawyer living on the West Coast; one is a med student who is genius-level; one is wha
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I had high hopes for this book, but ended up disappointed. It had a lot going for it, I thought to make it a good read. A Got a painting with a demon, a dead grandfather, a lot of family secrets, and a supposed Cruse of the painting.

Then enters characters. They were popping in and out. It was hard to keep track of all of them. They were a mixed up group of a family. I recommend skipping this one, unless you just want to learn somethings about Goya and his Black Paintings.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audiobook of this, which was a great way to supplement the commutes in which I ran out of podcast to listen to. I liked the eerie atmosphere--the slight psychological twist from the main characters informed the entirety of the mystery. The pace was good, and the eventual reveal was neat and satisfying.
An intriguing mystery full of wild family dynamics. I really liked the art history and the mythology of Goya's "black paintings" and the demonic portrait - this gave the book a unique twist. It was a pretty quick read and kept my attention throughout. I do wish the ends hadn't been tied up quite so neatly at the end, as I like when mysteries leave a bit more mystery to think about after it's over.

*Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, provided by the author and/or the publisher in exchange for an ho
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Just okay, thin characters implausible plot linesbut some very interesting background on a lost Goya painting
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, arc
This book was an enjoyable surprise. I was caught up in the mystery and magic surrounding this Goya painting and in finding out more about the complex members of the Morse Family. The writing kept me intrigued and the author did a fantastic job of giving me just enough information to keep me guessing without frustration.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
An investigation into a recent death reawakens questions about a decades old theft, reveals dark family secrets, and brings to light the dark history of a family heirloom.
With a lot of potential, this thriller did not quite gel for me. Maybe too much darkness and distasteful characters, as well as slightly uneven pacing and a culmination that fizzled to an end.

This arc was provided by HarperCollins, in exchange for an honest review.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
The three children and four grandchildren of Alfred Morse, a wealthy art collector, have been called to his home on the Connecticut coast. Teresa, one of the grandchildren, finds him dead in his study; he has a horrified expression on his face which is turned towards the spot where a Goya self-portrait once hung. That painting, believed by several of the family members to be so disturbing that it caused misfortune or death, was stolen 15 years earlier. Teaming up with Dave Webster, a private inv ...more
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Neil Olson, the grandson of Greek immigrants, works in the publishing industry and lives in New York City with his wife.