Today’s team review is from Judith W, she blogs here https://readandreview2016.wordpress.com/
Judith has been reading Painted by Kirsten McKenzie
Painted is the first book I’ve reviewed for Rosie’s Book Review Team since May – this seems like an age ago – and it was a brilliant book for getting back into RBRT reviews.
It was well-written, and I was engaged in the story throughout.
McKenzie’s creation of build-up and tension was subtle but well-done, creating a consistent tone of uneasiness, which made the climax of the book even more exciting.
There are strong parallels to Susan Hill’s horror novel The Woman In Black* and this is a good thing, because I enjoyed both the novel and its film adaptation a lot.
*A lonely protagonist moves into an isolated house in order to complete work commissioned by their employer, but gradual ghostly occurrences unnerve them.
However, unlike The Woman In Black, the protagonist doesn’t remain completely isolated in the house; introduction of her co-workers adds new characters and allows McKenzie to develop a good cat-and-mouse style of horror, in addition to the paranormal activity.
My criticisms are small.
I think Painted occasionally relies too heavily on informing the reader of what the protagonist hasn’t seen. This is an understandable technique – its horror film equivalent would be zooming or panning to reveal a detail within the frame the audience can see clearly but the protagonist hasn’t. If Painted were a horror film (which I wish it was), I’ve no doubt this would be incredibly effective. However, translating this into written prose often within the story doesn’t have quite the same effect.
Furthermore, I would have preferred a more malignant ghostly presence – the ghosts were a little sympathetically written for my liking! For example, inThe Woman In Black, although the reader learns the sad back-story behind the woman in black’s haunting, the reader also sees her as a ruthless and malignant ghost, which adds to the horror of the book.
These are nit-picky problems because all in all I really enjoyed this book, and I will most likely try to grab a paperback version at some point, in addition to my free e-book copy!
If you’d like to read a well-written horror story that doesn’t rely on cheap scares but genuine thrills, I strongly recommend Painted.
Star Rating: 4/5 Stars
If art can capture a soul, what happens when one of those souls escapes?
When art appraiser Anita Cassatt is sent to catalogue the extensive collection of reclusive artist Leo Kubin, it isn’t only the chilly atmosphere of the secluded house making her shiver.
Upon entering the house, Anita stands before a silent audience of portraits clustered on every wall. Every painted eye is watching her, including those of the unfinished portrait on the artist’s easel. A portrait with an eerie familiarity.
Kubin’s lawyer didn’t share the detailed instructions regarding the handling of the art, and Anita and her team start work in ignorance of the very instructions designed to keep them safe.
Disturbed, a man eases himself out of his portrait and stretches. Free at last from the confines of his canvas, he has no intention of ever returning. He has a painting to finish…
About the author
For years Kirsten McKenzie worked in her family’s antique store, providing a unique insight into the world of antiques which touches every aspect of her writing.
Now a full time author, her historical fiction novels ‘Fifteen Postcards’ and it’s sequel ‘The Last Letter’ have been described as Time Travellers Wife meets The Far Pavilions, and “Antiques Roadshow gone viral”.
Her first horror novel – ‘Painted’, was released in June 2017.
She lives in New Zealand with her husband, daughters, and her SPCA rescue cat.