Pantheon, Jun 2003, 24.95
London biographer Nick Greer sees the finish line on the definitive biography of controversial artist Frank Spira. However, he soon learns the key source of insight into the life of the long deceased artist, his alleged lover, Jacob Grossman, still lives in Manhattan. An excited Nick visits Jacob who provides one revelation that holds the presses. The Incarnation, considered by many the epitome of Spira's career was not destroyed in 1957, but probably still exists.
Not long after his interview, Nick learns that someone murdered Grossman. The police lean towards Nick killing Grossman though the motive is unclear. Nick obsesses over finding the painting, but also wants to stop the murderer who has killed other Spira associates, but "the collector" has different plans that include using Nick to obtain the Incarnation for him.
This is an exciting mystery that works on several levels that include an intriguing serial killer who-done-it, a clever biography subplot, and an insightful art mystery. Nick is a great protagonist, whose obsessive personality is costing him his personal life, leading to the audience to wonder when he will get a real life. Anyone who reads this superb debut novel will feel sorry for author Joseph Geary because improving on this tale seems impossible.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner