Fifteen years ago, the Morse cousins left the family estate right after the theft of a painting that is known for its ancient evil history, with the power of killing the beholder after viewing it. And now the cousins are summoned back to their old home.
The story starts with one of them, Teresa, discovering their grandfather dead body in his study. And now, after the entire family gathers inside the house, she sets on finding clues about the painting’s thief and her grandpa’s mysterious death, with the help of An investigator.
Is the Goya painting truly capable of such doing? Can she trust her family, from whom she’s been estranged since she was a child?
But how can Teresa – having been stuck with a mental condition she believes she’s inherited from her long-gone father- those around her when she can’t even trust herself?
As I began to read this, it started to feel like Hawkins’ Into The Water, except where the case here is ‘the demonic painting’ instead of the ‘Drowning Pool’.
The author created Teresa as a like-able character, relatable in some ways but also unreliable often. And so is the rest of the characters (rebellious Audrey, introverted James,…) as you continue to dive through the pages, and it’s fascinating how they take turns divulging particular secrets about themselves that makes it harder for the reader to recognize who to trust and who the guilty ones are.
What I liked most about The Black Painting, aside from the beautifully written paragraphs and its just-one-more-page effect, is that it’s not only a thriller but is also mixed with a cinematic-like horror experience. Completely pulling you in until the last page.
With this read, Neil Olson takes psychological thrillers to a whole new level and I think it’ll make fans of such genre very happy, for the concept is completely original and with a suspense development that almost turns its fictional characters into real ones into the mind of the reader.
If you enjoyed reads like Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn or Into The Water by Paula Hawkins, then this is one is a must-read.
***Thank you to Netgalley, Harlequin and Hanover Square Press for providing me with an advanced reading copy of The Black Painting in exchange for an honest review***