K's Reviews > The Genius

The Genius by Jesse Kellerman
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's review
Jan 06, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: mysteriesthrillers
Recommended to K by: Mintzis
Recommended for: fans of multi-layered thrillers

Although I like to think of myself as a discerning book snob, every now and then I read a good thriller that challenges my self-image, or maybe my view of the thriller genre. It helps if the thriller is a multi-layered story driven by characters and relationships as well as by action. It also helps if the thriller exposes me to an unfamiliar world, in this case, the art business.

"The Genius" begins with an art dealer who discovers an incredible set of abandoned drawings. The vanished artist, Victor Cracke, is a mysterious figure who may in fact be a serial child killer. As Ethan, the art dealer, works to uncover Victor Cracke's past, we learn about Ethan's past as well and about the surprising ways in which Ethan and Victor are connected.

That's the story, on the face of it, but there's so much more here. Some really strong writing, well-drawn characters, complicated family relationships, and existential questions about genius and narcissism enhance a highly readable mystery. It may not be high literature, but I enjoyed the time I spent with it.

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by M (new) - rated it 4 stars

M Apparently I did Bonesetters Wife twice and this one not at all; requested it now, but it might be a while.

message 2: by K (new) - rated it 4 stars

K That's fine; Saadia swiped this one anyway which means my place will constantly be lost if I try to read it now. Better to just let him finish it and read something else in the meantime.

message 3: by M (new) - rated it 4 stars

M It's looking like it won't be my type but you never know

message 4: by K (new) - rated it 4 stars

K It's true that many thrillers are formulaic and mediocre, but the well-written ones can be very enjoyable reads. I really liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and For the Sake of Elena, books which I felt had the best of both worlds -- the fast pace and intrigue of thrillers plus good writing and interesting characterization and conflicts. I don't know whether this one falls into that category, but Saadia says it's well-written.

message 5: by M (new) - rated it 4 stars

M Well written and characterization already makes a good case .. hopefully the library will come through

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