April 07, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Genius

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jesse Kellerman
publisher
Putnam
genre
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller
We gave it a B+

When Manhattan art dealer Ethan Muller is shown a dingy rent-controlled apartment bursting with fabulous work, he jumps on it, soon mounting a show — even though the artist, Victor Cracke, has vanished. Who was Cracke, and why do some of the faces in his drawings look like young boys murdered years ago, the crimes unsolved? Prodded by a retired cop, Ethan begins to investigate — first unwillingly, then compulsively — and it becomes clear that Cracke’s story is intertwined with that of Ethan’s own family. Despite some cumbersome flashbacks, Jesse Kellerman’s The Genius boasts a masterful plot and dead-on pacing. B+

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