The Black Painting (Paperback) by Neil Olson

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List Price: £8.99

Paperback: 384 Pages.

Published: 11 January 2018 by HQ

ISBN: 1848457138

EAN: 9781848457133

Review by Debra Found

4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars (4 from a possible 5)

Solid Plot with Plenty of Twists

Teresa's Grandfather owned a black painting by Goya. Supposedly it put a curse on the family causing all sorts of problems - they are certainly dramatically dysfunctional. It was stolen 15 years ago causing a rift through the family that never healed. However, Teresa has now been summonded back to the house at Owl's Point by her Grandfather.

I knew nothing about Goya's black paintings before I stated this book so that was an interesting addition to the storyline. Personally I felt the author over dramatised the horrific nature of this painting - could a painting really be so shocking that it caused someone to die from a heart attack?

There are numerous twists and turns in this book and for the most part they were well constructed. The plot was pretty solid and I felt everything did make sense and come together in the end. There were a few fight scenes where I lost track of who was fighting who & why but it slotted together again quickly afterwards.

There are two plot devices which I have come to dislike over recent years. One is the use of twins and the mistakes over their identity - there are far more twins in fiction that in reality! Thankfully there wasn't a twin in sight in this book. However, the author did employ the other of my dislikes and that is amnesia. Amnesia is not that common in reality but very common in fiction where the memory conveniently returns at a critical point. In this book, Teresa has epilepsy (nice to see this in fiction particularly as it was well described including the disorientation and fatigue afterwards). When Teresa has a seizure she looses track of reality and some memories of the time around the seizure. This is quite sound and has a good basis in reality. What isn't so sound is that these memories come back at convenient moments - Grrrrrr.

I appreciated the characters in this book. Although many of them weren't that nice most of them managed a redeeming feature. James was quite odd but loved his cousin, Teresa and wanted to take care of her. Audrey had a very damaged character but she was trying to protect her brother, James. In all they were a very dysfunctional family where the therapists could have made a fortune but they weren't all bad.

I did enjoy this book. I found the story flowed well and it was easy to read. There are plenty of well thought out twists & turns for the reader to get their teeth into. I may have considered a five star review had the author not used the cliched amnesia plot device. I will be more than happy to read any other books by this author.

This book was sent to me via Netgalley.

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