300 years after it was painted, a creepy painting painted in blood may be responsible for a string of deaths in New Orleans. Henry Sebastian Hubert was not a well-known painter. In fact, his main claim to fame is the summer he spent with Lord Byron and Mary Shelley. That summer also brought his greatest work, an unsettling painting named "Ghosts in the Minds." The painting disappeared after his death and now 200 years later it has resurfaced and was sold to an unknown buyer in New Orleans. Danielle Cafferty is a lover of art and when she happens to see a copy of the painting in a gallery near her store, she's both intrigued and a bit creeped out. But she begins to suspect something is up when her boyfriend and ex-cop Michael Quinn investigates a series of murders that seem to be somehow connected to the painting.
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A man who was supposed to deliver the painting was murdered and the odd thing is that witnesses report that a strange fog was in the house when he died. And after evidence from that crime is stolen from a police evidence locker during a similar fog incident, Quinn and Cafferty begin investigating the history of "Ghosts In The Mind." They're aided by police coroner Ron Hubert, who happens to be a long-distant relative of the painter. They also get help from art gallery owner Niles Villiers and his protege, Mason Bradley. Together, they uncover details that seem to show that everyone involved with the painting tends to meet a quick and painful death.
Quinn is able to discover the identity of the painting's new owner, and Mrs. Lamont may be elderly, but she also has spunk. She refuses to speak with police or turn over the painting. At least, until someone breaks into her home, kills her butler and steals "Ghosts in the Minds." Quinn is able to determine that the butler may have been in on the theft, but that someone else was also in the home. Cafferty learns that the painting was rumored to be painted with some blood donated by Hubert and after several other murders, the group decides to visit the castle when the painting was created.
The castle is in Switzerland and Ron Hubert turns out to be the owner. No one has lived in the castle for decades, but he, Quinn, Cafferty, Lamont, a priest, and Niles all travel to there to confront the evil. They become convinced that the painting had been created not just with Hubert's blood, but with the blood of his butler and other people living in the castle. They believe that by burning the bones of the people who donated their blood for the painting, its power will be destroyed.
They eventually find all the bodies in the castle crypt and burn them down to ashes. But once they return to New Orleans, they realize the painting is still missing. In a conversation with Niles, Cafferty realizes that he now has the painting and had been using the painting's power for his own purposes. Quinn arrives just she confronts Niles, and he kills the gallery owner just as he's preparing to murder Quinn. Mrs. Lamont burns the painting and this case is solved. Until the next time someone in New Orleans tries to wake the dead.
Best part of story, including ending:
It was extremely original and very well-written. Every piece of the story made sense and it all hung together in a way that holds your interest even if you don't completely believe in it.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was in the castle crypt in Switzerland, as the group makes its way through the maze of corridors in an attempt to uncover the bodies. The scene is written just perfectly and you can almost feel the spider webs draped across your arms.
Opinion about the main character:
Michael Quinn is a great combination of cynical ex-cop and hopeless romantic. His past history as a blowhard college quarterback and his later fall from grace gives him a lot of emotional weight and it makes him a well-rounded character.