Maggie Richter is a writer/editor at a floundering art museum in L.A., from which she is on leave after helping solve an artist's murder; but the apparent suicide of a rising student artist at a top-flight L.A. art school puts her back in the mix in Maria Hummel's explosive novel Lesson in Red.
Hummel's first novel with Maggie Richter, Still Lives, was a literate thriller with a corrosive take on the art world; this one punches even harder in the underlying discussion of women in that culture.
I enjoyed this novel, but I suspect it was helped by the fact that I finished Hummel's first novel very recently. The events of Still Lives are so closely ingrained in Lesson in Red that I don't think it would be as rewarding reading as a standalone. And in fact there are still a number of plot threads from the first book--specifically the unusual death of one of the character's brother--that seem to be obvious fodder to make this a trilogy.
Both of Hummel's books are hitting enough Book Clubs as to give her the chance to write another one, and I hope she does. Recommended for those who have already read Still Lives.
I checked this out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library and read it very quickly.