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Still Lives

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  25,058 ratings  ·  1,749 reviews
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 t ...more
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Counterpoint Press
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Meredith What is pretentious about homemade pie and wanting to be understood? I mean, the art scene is a bit uppity, but the characters I've encountered so far…moreWhat is pretentious about homemade pie and wanting to be understood? I mean, the art scene is a bit uppity, but the characters I've encountered so far, are perhaps different than me, but very relatable! (less)
Alison Vandermay No. There are some gruesome details of famously murdered women and the way they were killed, but no sex scenes or anything like that.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  25,058 ratings  ·  1,749 reviews

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May 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned
This was a pretty disappointing read. The description made it sound like a book that was right up my alley. And while everything mentioned in the blurb does in fact happen in the book, it's not told in as thrilling of a way as you might expect. In fact, for a 275 page book, the first 100-150 pages or so are fairly unexciting. Things happen and you (sort of) get to know the characters, but it's not very engaging.

Another issue I had with this book was that I never felt like I was able to understan
Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
”For the four years I’ve lived in Los Angeles, the Rocque Museum has been my workplace and my university, offering me a degree in contemporary art and the cosmopolitan life---brilliant as the blues in a Sam Francis painting, decadent as a twenty-four-karat cast of a cat testicle. Most days pass in a pleasurable blur of words and pictures. Most nights I hate to leave my little office, especially on April evenings like this, when I can look over my mess of proofs, out to the greening city, and ima ...more
Larry H
Jun 08, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

The Rocque Museum was one of Los Angeles' hidden treasures—an art museum for art lovers and collectors more than for tourists. While this set the institution apart, this also took a toll on its finances. Everyone is desperate for a hit exhibition, including the founder's daughter, who is tired of bailing out the museum and the director, who is worried about job security.

They think they've found it in Still Lives , an exhibition by artist and provocateur Kim Lord. Lord painted self-p
Diane S ☔
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The glittering world of art can be at once insightful and nasty. Set in L. A at a prestigious gallery that is having money problems, a new show featuring the avant garde, often shocking Kim Lord. Her latest installations are paintings of women who were mudered in Los Angeles, including Nicole zBrown Simpson and the Black Dahlia. Lord uses her own face and body but the manner of death is prominently and sometimes graphically displayed. Maggie, a copy editor and proof reader for the museum, has ro ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maria Hummel immerses us in the art world of Los Angeles, a corrupt city of dreams and ambitions, mythic in its glamour and legendary in its violence in this Noir thriller. Kim Lord is returning to the contemporary art scene after 1o years away, with a controversial but arresting exhibition of still lives portraits of famous murders of women such as Nicole Brown Simpson, Chandra Levy and the Black Dahlia. Kim Lord herself portrays each murder victim, some see this as beyond good taste, part of t ...more
Elyse  Walters
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Not every woman fantasizes about being a sex slave or starlet or murder victim! Some of us just want to get sucked into a good novel and grow our own tomatoes one day when we have more time”.

How might you feel if your ex boyfriend
opens up an Art Gallery.... offers you a dream job ...then begins shacking up with *Kim Lord*....whose ‘every’ painting,
“is so powerful it makes your eyes bleed”.
.....who also happens to be a ‘no show’
at her grand Galla art exhibition with over 300 guests expected?
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Still Lives tells a story of Kim Lord, an artist who works in L.A. and who has a disturbing and provoking idea of presenting female murder victims in her works. She disappears, and Maggie Richter, a copy editior working for a modern art museum, embarks on a trail to discover the truth: is Kim's disappearance part of her artistic vision or is there a possibility that something terrible happened to her?
This thriller is rather slow-paced, however, well-written and there is no need for speed readin
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it

3.5 stars

The main character in this literary mystery is Maggie Richter, the 28-year-old copy editor and assistant publicist for the Rocque Museum in Los Angeles.

As the story opens, the Rocque is having its 2003 Grand Opening for a show called 'Still Lives', which features paintings of real-life female murder victims. The twist is that the artist, Kim Lord, depicts herself as the murder victim in every gruesome picture. Among others, there are paintings of:

- Gwen Araujo: the 17-year-old transge
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Still Lives takes the reader on a mystery set in the L.A. art world.
A famous artist, Kim Lord, goes missing on the opening night of her exhibit, "Still Lives."
The exhibit is controversial because the portraits are of famous women like the Black Dahlia, Nicole Brown Simpson and other murdered women.
There is definitely a lot of buzz and talk around the exhibit. When no one can find Lord on opening night, Maggie Richter, one of the museums editors, decides to investigate for herself.
Mystery, su ...more
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Kim Lord is a famous artist with a very controversial show about to open when she mysteriously disappears. Editor Maggie Richter finds herself sucked in to the scandal as she tries to figure out what happened to Kim, while struggling to reconcile with her own demons.

I had a lot of hope for this book - set in Los Angeles, art world, scandal....but, something just didn't click with me. I could not get into the story or the characters. I am clearly in the minority as this book is winning awards lik
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Make your life about the things and the people that matter to you, the ones worth saving. Keep them well and let the dead go. The dead already know their ending.

A literary mystery surrounding the disappearance of an enigmatic painter set in the world of museums and galleries drew me to this story, but it was the author’s writing that kept me reading. Hummel manages to infuse the narrative with a noir quality as she exposes the underbelly of Los Angeles along with some nefarious art world collect
Caidyn (he/him/his)
You can find all of my reviews here!

1/5 – DNF at pg. 234 (85%)

TW: mentions of graphic crimes against women and murder

Well, here we are. Another DNF review from me. And I was so sure that I would like this book!

The basic premise of this is that Kim Lord is an artist. She exploits people for her exhibits. This time, she exploits women who were murdered in horrible crimes. Nicole Brown Simpson, The Black Dahlia, Chandra Levy, and many others. The night that her exhibit is supposed to open, she neve
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 Stars!

Thank you to Counterpoint Press for sending me a free finished copy of Still Lives!

This book's subject matter is unlike anything I've read before. It centers around the art community which frankly I don't have much knowledge of. Ultimately this book is a mystery about a missing person but the way the author wove in the Art community was very interesting.

Kim Lord is a famous artist and it's her opening night of a her new exhibit. She takes on a tough subject when it comes to her art: abus
Book of the Month
Why I Love it
by Sarah Bedwell

In the world of mystery novels, there’s an elephant in the room that no one’s talking about: society’s fascination with violence against women. Don’t get me wrong, I love this genre, but sometimes I find myself wanting a little more feminism to go with all the female victimhood. Luckily, I found this in Still Lives, a suspenseful, splashy story about fame, sex, and how our culture views women’s bodies.

Kim Lord is a prominent and provocative artist whose new show—a se
Umut Rados
I'm afraid I have to agree with a lot of reviews mentioning the same points that are missing in this book. I loved the cover and the premise. I found it very original, and still find the set up quite cool.
An artist who plans a controversial exhibit where she painted the well known women victims, who had terrible deaths. And the night of the exhibit, she doesn't show up. So, what happened to her?
I loved the gallery, art, artist dynamics. I thought the story would connect to this cool artist's pa
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, thriller, mystery
"Still Lives offers its readers a combination of entertainment and brilliance. It's at once profound and suspenseful, the ending had me gasping in surprise!. The book as a whole asks important questions about art and representation and how we, as a culture, objectify and endanger and victimize women.

Maria Hummel has written a remarkable, relevant, and necessary novel."—
Kim Lord is an avant-garde figure, feminist icon, and agent provocateur in the L.A. art scene. Her groundbreaking new exhibitio
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still Lives is a refreshingly original take on the contemporary thriller set in glamorous Los Angeles. It focuses on the disappearance of controversial artist Kim Lord and uncovers some of the darkness hidden behind the scenes of the LA art world. There are plenty of surprises and I found myself completely immersed in the story and the wonderful setting. If you appreciate intriguing thrillers that are both chilling and disturbing, you will find much to enjoy here. The writing was easy to connect ...more
Terrie Robinson
Dec 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terrie by: Reese's Book Club
"Still Lives" by Maria Hummel is pieces and parts that don't fit together!

The protagonist in this story, Maggie Richter, copy editor and assistant publicist at the Rocque Museum in Los Angeles, has mixed feelings about the newest exhibition 'Still Lives' by avant garde artist Kim Lord. It's tough viewing the paintings, all self-portraits of the artist posing as famous female murder victims, Maggie turning away from some, completely refusing to look at a few. Seeing the vivid portrayals of murde
Pamela Glass
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book has received some bewilderingly high reviews. I was surprised at how slowly this "thriller" moved. It wasn't a difficult read by any means, and as a person with interests in art and it's strange intersection with capitalism, as well as feminism and the incredibly high numbers of acts of violence against women, it seemed like a really promising premise. Sadly, I found reading it a chore.

Hummel goes into such intricate detail describing very famous murders and kidnappings, not just once,
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
A famous and provocative painter goes missing on the night of her latest exhibition’s debut. The subject of her exhibition, Still Lives, depicts paintings of herself posed as famous murder victims from Los Angeles. The museum’s writer, Maggie, finds herself at the center of the investigation as her personal and professional lives become entangled…

A dark and striking commentary on our fixation with the macabre and the sensationalization of famous murder cases, as well as on the lucrative and ofte
Patricia Williams
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a really good read, given to me by a friend. It was a mystery. First it was "where is she" and then it was "who killed her". I did not even begin to figure it out until it was told in the story, the "who done it". The story is told by someone involved in the whole story. It's about an artist who does not show up for her show at an art museum in LA. lots of things going on but very well written. I will definitely read this author again. ...more
Cindy Burnett
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

Still Lives is a fascinating read set in Los Angeles that focuses on the disappearance of an up-and-coming artist right before the opening night of her exhibition. The book is significantly darker and more grim than I usually tolerate, but the originality of the plot and the subject matter kept me reading at a furious pace to find what was going to happen next.

Maggie Richter works as an editor at the Rocque Museum and has mixed feelings about Kim Lord’s exhibition, self-portraits of Lo
Jessica Woodbury
When a crime novel is set in a very specific place or time or industry, it can sometimes feel more like a gimmick than something where the story flows organically from it. But in STILL LIVES, more than any novel about art in my recent memory, the gallery and the art all feel alive and honest. Perhaps the thing that's bothered me most about novels about art and artists is the way the reader just has to accept that the art is vibrant and interesting, often it fails to appear that way on the page. ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Honestly. One of the worst books I have read this year. However it is not for a lack of trying. I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters and the story never seemed to get off the ground. I was really disappointed because I was looking forward to reading this and it was a let down.
I skimmed half the book just to figure out what happened at the end.
Jessica Sullivan
“Never look for the what. Find the who. Who gets hurt. Who gains. Whose life will never be the same.”

I’ve seen some reviews lamenting that this isn’t the thrilling page-turner they expected, and that’s true, it isn’t. It’s more of a slow burn noir about the LA art world, with a missing woman at the center.

On the opening night of her new museum exhibition featuring self-portraits in which she depicts herself as famous murdered women, artist Kim Lord disappears.

Maggie Richter, who works at the mus
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Still Lives, story of art and murder in LA circa 2003, is a bright and sunny, blood-drenched explosion of a book.

Kicking off at an art gala for an artist painting herself into the most famous pictures of the city's slaughtered women, it's all art references and descriptions of the bright young things that flock around such daring concepts as street parties held in the actual street. But before long, like the titular series, there's real blood and lives on the line beneath all the glitter.

It's an
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Artist Kim Lord is a high-profile name in the art world and the Rocque Museum is excited about her latest exhibition, Still Lives, which depicts the artist as famous murdered women like Black Dahlia and Nicole Brown Simpson.

The musuem's staff editor, Maggie Richter, watches the wealthy art patrons arrive at the Rocque on opening night with a feeling of dread.  Her ex-boyfriend, the aspiring gallerist Greg Shaw Ferguson, is now dating Kim Lord and will no doubt be on her arm the entire night.

Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Picked up this audiobook on Hoopla. It was a botm pick previously, so I thought I’d give it a try. But, like many contemporary murder mystery/thrillers, I found the story unrealistic, plot thin, and characters ridiculous. I don’t understand why women in these stories all make such bad decisions. This one was a disappointment for me, and I’m starting to think that this just isn’t my genre.
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
I'm quickly coming to realize that books about possession or art just don't work for me all that well. While this one is centered around a missing artist and the behind the scenes of where she could possibly be, the underlying world of art and what people consider art just does not interest me.

At one point, I thought this was going to go in the direction of Exhibit Alexandra and I was going to be REALLY MAD about it. Thankfully it did NOT. For that I thank you, Hummel.

I think this book is more
Claire- Louise
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it
This thriller has a Velvet Buzzsaw vibe to it and, despite the plot at times feeling a little too abstract, it was entertaining in a slow burn kind of way. It set the scene of the LA art world bringing to life it’s wealthy and vacuous characters. The vividness of the strange and superficial served to cater to the unsettling backdrop of the mystery. However, it also at times filtered down the suspense with the clues and characters feeling too obscure and confusing to follow. Probably a 3.5- 4 sta ...more
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Reese's Book Club...: Thoughts.... 10 700 Jan 22, 2019 06:48PM  
Play Book Tag: Still Lives - Maria Hummel - 3 1/2 stars 1 15 Sep 25, 2018 08:10AM  
Reese's Book Club...: Questions for the Author 7 267 Aug 24, 2018 09:38AM  
Reese's Book Club...: Art 2 212 Aug 19, 2018 12:58PM  
Book of The Month: Still Lives 4 41 Jun 01, 2018 10:14AM  

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