Painted
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…

Painted Details

TitlePainted
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 30th, 2017
PublisherSquabbling Sparrows Press
ISBN-139780473398439
Rating
GenreHorror, Thriller, Paranormal, Ghosts, Art

Painted Review

  • Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
    January 1, 1970
    I've discovered a new author that I love. This book is a hidden gem amongst many. A very unique, addictive and creepy horror tale with a difference. Bravo!, Kirsten for such a fantastic book idea!I was totally enthralled with this book from very early on and eagerly came back to it whenever I could over a few busy days. It's one of those books where you just need to knowwhat's going to happen next. Where is this story taking me?The author builds a backdrop in this creepy old house where Anita go I've discovered a new author that I love. This book is a hidden gem amongst many. A very unique, addictive and creepy horror tale with a difference. Bravo!, Kirsten for such a fantastic book idea!I was totally enthralled with this book from very early on and eagerly came back to it whenever I could over a few busy days. It's one of those books where you just need to knowwhat's going to happen next. Where is this story taking me?The author builds a backdrop in this creepy old house where Anita goes to stay that gives you that delectable chilling tension. Anita is appraising an enormous collection of portraits for the form she works for and waiting on other colleagues to arrive so they can appraise their own areas of speciality.This is no ordinary house and these are no ordinary portraits. The plot is sensationally addictive and the creepy factor kept me alert page after page. The author teases you with a story that reveals its secrets slowly, bit by bit - mesmerising. The writing is sublime. Kirsten's writing style is unique and beautifully descriptive without ever going over board. She has a way with words that made this book really stand out for me. I found the writing beautiful despite the dark theme of the book.Anita is alone in this huge old house with the eyes of each portrait watching her every move. Something wicked this way comes. When you are given the full reveal of the story it's just a great moment. I felt like a very satisfied reader. This is not extreme horror, it's not graphic nor gory. It would appeal to many. It's moody, full of tense moments, ghostly and creepy. It would make a stunning movie. It should be a modern horror classic. I do hope the author continues to write in this genre. It's her first horror story and she has written 2 books prior that I'm keen to dabble into. I really liked this book a lot and I read hundreds every year.It's found a place in my long list of Top 17 Reads of 2017. No easy feat. Much competition for these places. This one deserves to be there. 5 delicious stars for a book that I enjoyed for so many good reasons. Very highly recommended dear book lovers. You may think twice when you look at a portrait after reading this one.I requested a copy of this book to read from the author when it was offered in a Goodreads group Im part of. I'm so glad I did! All review opinions are my own and totally unbiased.
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  • Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    PAINTED is not only the first novel I've read from author Kirsten McKenzie, but also her first foray into the horror genre. There have long been sayings regarding 'the eyes being a window to the soul', and the way that McKenzie choses to utilize this idea to shape her book gives it an incredibly fresh outlook.When Leo Kubin, an extremely reclusive artist, sends over very specific instructions as to how his vast art collection is to be handled--to the law firm he'd always dealt with--he had no id PAINTED is not only the first novel I've read from author Kirsten McKenzie, but also her first foray into the horror genre. There have long been sayings regarding 'the eyes being a window to the soul', and the way that McKenzie choses to utilize this idea to shape her book gives it an incredibly fresh outlook.When Leo Kubin, an extremely reclusive artist, sends over very specific instructions as to how his vast art collection is to be handled--to the law firm he'd always dealt with--he had no idea about the recent changes there. Mainly, the gentleman who always dealt with his clients in a supportive and protective manner, has died. Unfortunately for the firm's elderly clients, his son--Alan Gates Jr.--is nothing like his father. Concerned only with the bottom-dollar line for himself, this arrogant, lecherous man disregards Mr. Kubin's explicit instructions as a senile old man's nonsense, and more importantly to him, a waste of extra time and money. Therefore, it is without the benefit of these "safety measures" that the company hired to itemize and catalog for auction the contents of the late Mr. Kubin's vast estate are sent to begin their jobs. Art appraiser, Anita Cassat arrives at the out of the way mansion days before her colleagues, as it is expected that the sheer number of paintings assembled there will take much longer to appraise.Once there, Anita is instantly filled with a fear that she is being watched, despite being the only human present. "An audience of eyes, immortalized in portraits clustered on every wall . . . " McKenzie does an incredible job in the characterization of the people in her novel. With each and every one, I came away with the feeling that I knew them--down to even the secrets they kept hidden from each other. When one of them startles, you can practically see the physical shiver and changes that affect them. These are complete individuals--even the ones that have ceased to exist, as we know it. ". . . Their eyes the brightest part of every portrait, capturing the essence of their humanity . . . more than the subjects thought they would ever reveal to anyone . . ." When Anita begins handling the portraits, the uneasy atmosphere in the story begins to ramp up incredibly. The tension remains so thick, that I found it difficult to find a place to stop reading for a time, reluctant to leave the world that was unfolding before me. The portraits are--at first--the primary source of Anita's apprehension, and plant the seed that something is "off" about this job. As she handled one particular picture, she noted: ". . . The edges were indistinct, and the eyes smudged beyond recognition as if someone had tried to gouge them out . . . " ". . . It was easy to ignore the known. It was the unknown which made her mouth dry and her pulse race." Some elements of the sinister atmosphere the old estate had festered are provided by the few thoughts and comments from an elderly farmer, who'd lived next to it his entire life. ". . . the house had a reputation . . . Most threw themselves off the cliff and were swallowed by the sea . . . " There was so much complex mystery twined in this tale, that just when I thought I figured out something, a new element would present itself to decipher and add to the confusion. ". . . This wasn't a life he wanted to lead. It wasn't his life either. That was over." Eventually Anita is joined by her colleagues, each specializing in a different area of appraisement. Even here, McKenzie's skills shine through as we get to intimately know the new arrivals. The tension--even with the additional bodies--continues to maintain and even increase its presence, until all around harbor a silent fear of . . . something, yet intangible, to them. ". . . You're next, you're next, you're next." This novel literally took my breath away in places. Some of the prose took on dual meanings when faced with an unknown threat. Even the secrets that were revealed remained cloaked in a thin layer of mystery that we, perhaps, weren't meant to ever unravel. "Twilight is the master of disguise. The champion of falsehoods and fiction. The eye wasn't designed for twilight . . . " While there were moments in the story where the action slowed considerably, overall I felt this novel was a fascinating read, full of explicitly presented atmosphere, realistic characters, and a supernatural force that hadn't been overdone in other novels. The ideas were shown with a "fresh" approach to the subject matter, leaving behind a shred of mystery for readers to ponder over after they finished. ". . . Hindsight is a terrible gift when you realize you've destroyed more beauty than you created." I am greatly looking forward to reading Kirsten McKenzie's next horror-themed novel.Highly recommended!
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  • Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
    January 1, 1970
    I've discovered a new author that I love. This book is a hidden gem amongst many. A very unique, addictive and creepy horror tale with a difference. Bravo!, Kirsten for such a fantastic book idea!I was totally enthralled with this book from very early on and eagerly came back to it whenever I could over a few busy days. It's one of those books where you just need to knowwhat's going to happen next. Where is this story taking me?The author builds a backdrop in this creepy old house where Anita go I've discovered a new author that I love. This book is a hidden gem amongst many. A very unique, addictive and creepy horror tale with a difference. Bravo!, Kirsten for such a fantastic book idea!I was totally enthralled with this book from very early on and eagerly came back to it whenever I could over a few busy days. It's one of those books where you just need to knowwhat's going to happen next. Where is this story taking me?The author builds a backdrop in this creepy old house where Anita goes to stay that gives you that delectable chilling tension. Anita is appraising an enormous collection of portraits for the form she works for and waiting on other colleagues to arrive so they can appraise their own areas of speciality.This is no ordinary house and these are no ordinary portraits. The plot is sensationally addictive and the creepy factor kept me alert page after page. The author teases you with a story that reveals its secrets slowly, bit by bit - mesmerising. The writing is sublime. Kirsten's writing style is unique and beautifully descriptive without ever going over board. She has a way with words that made this book really stand out for me. I found the writing beautiful despite the dark theme of the book.Anita is alone in this huge old house with the eyes of each portrait watching her every move. Something wicked this way comes. When you are given the full reveal of the story it's just a great moment. I felt like a very satisfied reader. This is not extreme horror, it's not graphic nor gory. It would appeal to many. It's moody, full of tense moments, ghostly and creepy. It would make a stunning movie. It should be a modern horror classic. I do hope the author continues to write in this genre. It's her first horror story and she has written 2 books prior that I'm keen to dabble into. I really liked this book a lot and I read hundreds every year.It's found a place in my long list of Top 17 Reads of 2017. No easy feat. Much competition for these places. This one deserves to be there. 5 delicious stars for a book that I enjoyed for so many good reasons. Very highly recommended dear book lovers. You may think twice when you look at a portrait after reading this one.I requested a copy of this book to read from the author when it was offered in a Goodreads group Im part of. I'm so glad I did! All review opinions are my own and totally unbiased.
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  • Stacey Broadbent
    January 1, 1970
    When I saw that fellow New Zealand author, Kirsten McKenzie had written a horror, I jumped at the chance to read it! I’m a sucker for anything that will have me on the edge of my seat, and this book did that.First of all, I’d just like to touch on the wonderful writing style of Kirsten. This book was so beautifully written, with such attention to detail, you couldn’t help but feel as though you were right there with the characters. She painted such an eerie picture of the house and its surroundi When I saw that fellow New Zealand author, Kirsten McKenzie had written a horror, I jumped at the chance to read it! I’m a sucker for anything that will have me on the edge of my seat, and this book did that.First of all, I’d just like to touch on the wonderful writing style of Kirsten. This book was so beautifully written, with such attention to detail, you couldn’t help but feel as though you were right there with the characters. She painted such an eerie picture of the house and its surroundings, and don’t get me started on the creepy artwork.What I loved about this book was how it played out almost like a movie, where small things would happen but go unnoticed by the characters in the beginning. The fleeting shadows behind them, the objects shifting, the paintings… well, you’ll just have to read to see what happens with the paintings.There seem to be twists and turns everywhere in this book, and I love that! The ending was something I didn’t see coming either, which doesn’t often happen for me, but this was not predictable at all. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like this before, and it makes such a nice change. I will definitely be looking out for more books by Kirsten McKenzie!
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  • Vicky
    January 1, 1970
    I am not usually a reader of horror novels. I came to know McKenzie's writing through her historical fiction novels which display her love and knowledge of antiques. Painted continues her love of antiques with descriptions of the amazing rooms in this novel. Room by room, character by character and painting by painting the author delivers a page turning, gripping novel of a house that is haunted - if only they had listened to the owner who left specific instructions in his will.
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  • Lucretia
    January 1, 1970
    This is a story dripping in atmosphere. I loved the creepy feeling that permeated every page. Let’s face it portraits are creepy, I’ve always felt watched by them, then again, I watch a lot of horror, and that’s what they do, so that may just be me.Talk about a clear message, follow instructions! The descriptive narrative gave me a clear image of the house, paintings, and people with a subtly and balance that was impressive. The plot of this was a beautiful slow burn that built on the opening dr This is a story dripping in atmosphere. I loved the creepy feeling that permeated every page. Let’s face it portraits are creepy, I’ve always felt watched by them, then again, I watch a lot of horror, and that’s what they do, so that may just be me.Talk about a clear message, follow instructions! The descriptive narrative gave me a clear image of the house, paintings, and people with a subtly and balance that was impressive. The plot of this was a beautiful slow burn that built on the opening dread until the unexpected conclusion. I absolutely love the end.I’m not sure if I was supposed to or not, but I connected with Ruth as well as Anita, and that really added to the mounting tension. If you are looking for a Gothic horror, something that could easily sit alongside a classic in the genre, then you’ll want to read this.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    Leo Kubin is dead and he has left the law firm headed by Alan Gates, some very specific instructions on how to dispose of his art collection. All paintings must be taken from the wall and immediately crated. Under no circumstances must they be leant against the wall or left on a table or crated with other items. Alan has no patience with such frivolities and arranges for a team from Nickleby's to visit the house and assess the artwork and other treasures in the hope that there might be a valuabl Leo Kubin is dead and he has left the law firm headed by Alan Gates, some very specific instructions on how to dispose of his art collection. All paintings must be taken from the wall and immediately crated. Under no circumstances must they be leant against the wall or left on a table or crated with other items. Alan has no patience with such frivolities and arranges for a team from Nickleby's to visit the house and assess the artwork and other treasures in the hope that there might be a valuable asset hidden there.Anita Cassett, junior assessor, and hiding a secret, is hoping to make a good name for herself by properly assessing the artwork. She arrives at the house ahead of the team to make a start with the paintings and totally unaware of the instructions for the crating of the paintings. She ignores the spookiness of the house but when Alan Gates arrives at the house to check on her progress, her uneasiness grows. Kirstin McKenzie has done a fantastic job with this book. Her first step into the supernatural she has created some very strong characters and her descriptions of the house and its contents are beautifully described and sent shivers down my spine. Painted is the spookiest book I have read in years. The chapters when Anita is alone in the house freaked me out in a way that I haven't been since the early novels of Stephen King. I really hope that Kirstin continues writing books in this genre as I think the has a real talent for it.
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    Anita is an inexperienced, young art appraiser who jumps at the opportunity to catalog an artist’s collection following his death. The reclusive artist painted abundantly. He left such an extensive collection that Anita has to spend several days at his remote coastal home. There is no phone service or WiFi. It’s a daunting task to stay in the portrait filled old house alone.The author brings us a classic haunted house vibe. The aging building is all creaks and groans. To begin with, mysterious l Anita is an inexperienced, young art appraiser who jumps at the opportunity to catalog an artist’s collection following his death. The reclusive artist painted abundantly. He left such an extensive collection that Anita has to spend several days at his remote coastal home. There is no phone service or WiFi. It’s a daunting task to stay in the portrait filled old house alone.The author brings us a classic haunted house vibe. The aging building is all creaks and groans. To begin with, mysterious little things happen as the tension and the notion that all is not right builds. The atmosphere is fueled by the portraits and their sadness as presented in oils. Anita cannot feel relaxed for a moment, as she has the feeling that the eyes in the portraits are watching. You feel the sense of isolation in the house, with just Anita and the paintings and the cold, creaky house. Anita’s situation is made more complicated by a past traumatic experience that also haunts her.A foreboding messenger arrives, coming in out of the rain to warn against staying in the house. Despite this being a familiar trope, it is naturally blended into the story so it doesn’t feel cliched, and the character does return during various points of the book. Following her initial few days alone, Anita is joined by the lawyer for the estate and then by other members of her valuation team from the auction house. The introduction of these characters changes the dynamic. The subtle haunting gathers pace and the new arrivals provide victims for the evil that is present in the house. People start disappearing, nerves become fraught, and paranoia envelops the rest of the group.Painted is an effective haunted house book, favoring tension and subtlety over outright violence and kills. As such, this may appeal to a broader audience, both in terms of age and those who are not fans of overt gore. The truth behind the haunting is slowly revealed, along with how it ties into the many paintings in the house. In Painted, we see that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and in this case the eyes are on canvas.
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  • R. Claire
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed the author's attention to detail about art—it's obvious she knows her stuff—and her vivid descriptions helped to bring the setting to life. The story worked best for me when the protagonist, Anita, had a clear adversary in the form of the sexist lawyer, Alan. With his early disappearance, the story became somewhat muddled. I did, however, enjoy the eerie atmosphere and the overall ghost story. Cool cover too.
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  • Judith
    January 1, 1970
    Painted is a paranormal horror and thriller.‘If art can capture a soul, what happens when one of those souls escapes?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 adapta Painted is a paranormal horror and thriller.‘If art can capture a soul, what happens when one of those souls escapes?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, in The 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.
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  • Elke
    January 1, 1970
    I am the lucky winner of a goodreads giveaway copy of this title, thank you Ms. McKenzie! I was sucked into the unusual story from the beginning and just couldn't stop reading. 'Painted' expertly combines elements of a ghost story with those of a thriller. There was one main plot twist towards the end which at first I thought would ruin it all because it seemed such a convenient coincidence, but turned out it worked pretty well and the ending put a mean little smile on my face...The writing was I am the lucky winner of a goodreads giveaway copy of this title, thank you Ms. McKenzie! I was sucked into the unusual story from the beginning and just couldn't stop reading. 'Painted' expertly combines elements of a ghost story with those of a thriller. There was one main plot twist towards the end which at first I thought would ruin it all because it seemed such a convenient coincidence, but turned out it worked pretty well and the ending put a mean little smile on my face...The writing was a flawless and hypnotizing treat on its own, and I wonder why I haven't heard or read anything from this gifted author before. Highly recommended!
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  • David Carter
    January 1, 1970
    Painted is one of the most engrossing reads I've ever come across. I nailed it in record time; I just couldn't stop turning the pages!Kirsten "painted" an impeccable image with her words and writing style in my mind - of which I was captivated from the opening line.The story was so haunting and descriptive. There is no way I want to be left alone in a creepy old house full of paintings!!I feel so proud to be a fellow New Zealander after reading this novel, as Kirsten truly has something special Painted is one of the most engrossing reads I've ever come across. I nailed it in record time; I just couldn't stop turning the pages!Kirsten "painted" an impeccable image with her words and writing style in my mind - of which I was captivated from the opening line.The story was so haunting and descriptive. There is no way I want to be left alone in a creepy old house full of paintings!!I feel so proud to be a fellow New Zealander after reading this novel, as Kirsten truly has something special on her hands here - something that lets the world know there are some world class authors hiding out down-under.I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading, and that applies to people of all genre-preference.5 stars!!
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  • Tabitha Ormiston-Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Most horror being written nowadays is of the 'splattergore', more-is-better school of thought, so it was refreshing to encounter this subtle, delicate narrative where horror peeps slyly out from picture frames and the reader's palate is never overwhelmed with an excess of foulness. Admirable restraint and a real gift for story combine to produce an unforgettable experience. Worthy of note is McKenzie's treatment of her female protagonist. Unlike most in this genre, the woman is neither a feisty, Most horror being written nowadays is of the 'splattergore', more-is-better school of thought, so it was refreshing to encounter this subtle, delicate narrative where horror peeps slyly out from picture frames and the reader's palate is never overwhelmed with an excess of foulness. Admirable restraint and a real gift for story combine to produce an unforgettable experience. Worthy of note is McKenzie's treatment of her female protagonist. Unlike most in this genre, the woman is neither a feisty, indomitable kick-arse heroine nor a wilting violet. I found it intriguing to see both of these tired old tropes nicely avoided, and the book is the richer for it. All around a pleasantly creepy read.
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  • Sheri
    January 1, 1970
    an odd but well done book. There were some parts that felt a little overly wordy, but otherwise a great, fast read. I really enjoyed The pace and the real terror that you feel as you go along. I only docked 1 star cause the ending wasn't exactly to my liking. But still, you should read this book.
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  • Sean
    January 1, 1970
    "Painted" by Kirsten McKenzie was a fantastic read. It reminded me of layers of fear the PS4 game but with some great twists. Not your typical haunted house story type thing and would highly recommend.8/10
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    More Gothic than horror. But well-written and enjoyable.
  • Amy (literatiloves)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Review to come
  • Nina
    January 1, 1970
    A gripping horror story. Great atmosphere proving a 'fly on the wall' for the reader. Couldn't put it down.
  • Trudie Collins
    January 1, 1970
    This book starts off well and I am pleased to say it does not go downhill. I won’t say I couldn’t put it down, but it was not easy to do so. It has a good storyline that has a few surprises. The author builds the characters up well, making them three dimensional and giving them backgrounds, where appropriate. It starts off by giving a brief account of the small things that go wrong that cause the sequence of events. This works well and sets the tone for the rest of the book. The pace is good and This book starts off well and I am pleased to say it does not go downhill. I won’t say I couldn’t put it down, but it was not easy to do so. It has a good storyline that has a few surprises. The author builds the characters up well, making them three dimensional and giving them backgrounds, where appropriate. It starts off by giving a brief account of the small things that go wrong that cause the sequence of events. This works well and sets the tone for the rest of the book. The pace is good and there are no ‘boring bits’. One of the good things about this books is that I can’t say it is like any other author.Overall, this is an enjoyable book that makes you want to keep reading
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  • Scott Butler
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book from a great local NZ author. Solid characters that were easy to identify with. The premise and plot were solid as was the setting which was easy to visualise, a house I’d want to visit.
  • Scott Spotson
    January 1, 1970
    Painted, in terms of its setup and location, is deliciously creepy. An old, creaky mansion full of old, forgotten, and sinister-looking paintings, with portrayals of sad-looking men, women, and children whose eyes seem to follow your footsteps. Anita, an art appraiser, is sent off to stay at the mansion, and has to stay there for several days to tally the value of the paintings, other artwork, and household items for auction when the owner dies. The way the book tells it, Anita probably stayed a Painted, in terms of its setup and location, is deliciously creepy. An old, creaky mansion full of old, forgotten, and sinister-looking paintings, with portrayals of sad-looking men, women, and children whose eyes seem to follow your footsteps. Anita, an art appraiser, is sent off to stay at the mansion, and has to stay there for several days to tally the value of the paintings, other artwork, and household items for auction when the owner dies. The way the book tells it, Anita probably stayed at the mansion for about seven to eight nights. I wasn’t sure why it took so long. There were no environmental disruptions inside the house, like a flooding or the roof caving in. If I had about fifty paintings, although I have absolutely zero expertise, I imagine I could probably go through them all in one day. The author nicely has Amanda show how she does her work, i.e. record the title, the artist, the frame, and so on, and describe it if the information is not inscribed. Trouble is, it sounds like a five minute job per painting. I mean, she was in the house with no television or Internet, and supposing she wakes up at eight in the morning and goes to bed at ten, and does not go out (she's snowed in and doesn't go out for leisure) that's about fourteen hours a day to do nothing but cook, eat, dress, and appraise the paintings. But of course the story needs this captive mood, the sense of being stuck in one place, and so on, being hostage to all these creepy paintings.Later on in the book the auction business needs three (!!) more people to assess the rest of the items in the house. As well, there a pompous lawyer there too.It was at the point where the arrogant lawyer arrives that I felt the book deflate a bit. Prior to that, it was fascinating learning about Anita, her background, the world of art and auction houses, and so on. The author in her biography said she worked at an auction house, and it shows. It was fun being in that ghostly house, with its out-of-date access to the modern world and its seaside location. After that, there are too many characters described in detail, every move they make, oblivious to where everyone is. The pacing seemed strange and the characters very distant, as if they didn’t care where anyone else was. One thing the author had trouble was in describing action. I found it hard to follow where characters went, how they fell, how they saw things, and so on. Switching to a ghost’s point of view was also hard because I wasn’t sure what was happening to the character in danger. Also, with so many character’s movements accounted for, the book bogged down and it sort of became like one journal of movements and tracking points inside a large house. The book even tracked the whereabouts of an outsider, a neighbouring farmer. I also didn’t understand what happened to the ghostly characters, and what happened in their past. Agatha Christie would probably have disposed of a body in one paragraph. Characters flip personalities too easy on the side of a dime, at odds with their carefully built-up detail when introduced. This made me hard to care for any of them, because they weren’t consistent. I also couldn’t tell if the characters were acting nasty in response to stress because that’s how they behave under pressure, or if they were possessed by an evil spirit for a while. I loved the connections to the paintings and the implication that art can be evil and beautiful and intriguing all at the same time. I liked Anita’s character at the beginning, before the too many inconveniences and mishaps started to make her look wishy-washy as she keeps putting up with them rather than simply drive home. I would definitely read this book again if the outcome was handled differently and maybe with fewer characters and things cut down or clarified, (especially what happened to the descendants who lived in the house) as the setting and the art world naturally hooks me anyway.
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  • K.T. Munson
    January 1, 1970
    **Actual Rating 3.5 stars**CharactersThis was probably the biggest drawback to this book. When I started reading this Anita was a pretty well formed but blah character. After the rest of the group shows up I just couldn't stand her! She kept making the same stupid choices but then so did all of them. I felt like they were all the typical horror movie characters. I was almost rooting for the villain! (The ghost not the other evil one). Almost none of them have any sense of self-preservation. Down **Actual Rating 3.5 stars**CharactersThis was probably the biggest drawback to this book. When I started reading this Anita was a pretty well formed but blah character. After the rest of the group shows up I just couldn't stand her! She kept making the same stupid choices but then so did all of them. I felt like they were all the typical horror movie characters. I was almost rooting for the villain! (The ghost not the other evil one). Almost none of them have any sense of self-preservation. Downside the author does a ridiculous amount of head hoping instead of going full narration. Also the lawyer is so over the top that it was a little painful to read at times—pretty sure he didn't have a single good trait. PlotThis is a horror based ghost story. It does an excellent job building the tension and is without a doubt super creepy. The ancient house, the moving portraits, and the hapless heroine. It had all the elements of a horror story and was super gripping. Downside it was such a cliche! I struggled through the idiotic characters and almost repetitive decision making. I did appreciate two major points of this book. There was a plot within a plot and the author didn't play it safe with the ending. Those were what took me from despising this book to sort of blinking in surprise at the last page. I don't want to give anything away but it was refreshing! OverallI have a love hate relationship with this book. There were aspects of it I just loved and there were aspects I just hated! I liked the start of the book with Anita but after others arrive starting with the lawyer, all of the characters take a nose dive and never really recover. Mostly because of their completely illogical decision making that seemed only to exist to shock or drive the plot in a very specific direction. While the nail biting plot had me hooked and I just had to know the ending. Although I did see aspects of it coming, I was utterly surprised at the way the author ended it. That aspect is what really hit home as being a good book. Rating 3.5 stars (one up and one down)It doesn't deserve 3 stars because it was better than that, but it wasn't a solid 4 star book in my mind. A tense book that has all of the hallmarks of a good horror just not good characters!   This is a voluntary review. More reviews at creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com.
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  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    When reclusive artist Leo Kubin dies, he leaves explicit and rather curious instructions about how his extensive portrait collection should be handled. Enter the lawyer's secretary, who decides that these instructions are too bizarre to be taken seriously and shreds them.This was an intriguing start to a well-conceived tale from Kirsten McKenzie. The story unfolds nicely, as we are introduced to Anita, a young art assessor determined to make a good job of her first big assignment. From the momen When reclusive artist Leo Kubin dies, he leaves explicit and rather curious instructions about how his extensive portrait collection should be handled. Enter the lawyer's secretary, who decides that these instructions are too bizarre to be taken seriously and shreds them.This was an intriguing start to a well-conceived tale from Kirsten McKenzie. The story unfolds nicely, as we are introduced to Anita, a young art assessor determined to make a good job of her first big assignment. From the moment she enters the impressive Kubin house, the chilly, gothic atmosphere takes hold... What I really liked about this book was the original storyline. As a lover of ghostly tales and all things horror, I'm always on the lookout for a fresh, new take on the traditional ghost story and PAINTED doesn't disappoint. From subtle shadows to piercing screams, and painted eyes that follow you down dark corridors, McKenzie builds the tension cleverly, the story unfolding as our protagonist and her colleagues explore the house and the treasures within it. The story could have taken a number of different paths, so I ended up just sitting back and enjoying it, rather than second guessing how it was all going to turn out. 'Nuff said :)McKenzie has a lovely writing style and I don't want to be critical but one thing broke my concentration and that was the frequent use of clauses as sentences, meaning I had to reread things to make sense of them. It didn't ruin the book for me, but a further edit for this and a few missed words would have been ideal. For this reason, I have had to give PAINTED 4 stars. Don't let that put you off, however. Worth a read on a dark night.I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Peter
    January 1, 1970
    An Art appraiser named Anita Cassalt, was sent to the house of the late Leo Kubin. Upon entering the house, Anita is surrounded by a gallery of paintings. Anita job was to catalogue all of the paintings in the house. Anita has a strange feeling, that somebody was watching her. Kubin's lawyer, Alan Gates, did not share all of the details that Kubin had arranged with him, about what should be done with the paintings. Gates was out to make a quick buck for himself. Gates visited the house, and star An Art appraiser named Anita Cassalt, was sent to the house of the late Leo Kubin. Upon entering the house, Anita is surrounded by a gallery of paintings. Anita job was to catalogue all of the paintings in the house. Anita has a strange feeling, that somebody was watching her. Kubin's lawyer, Alan Gates, did not share all of the details that Kubin had arranged with him, about what should be done with the paintings. Gates was out to make a quick buck for himself. Gates visited the house, and started questioning Anita about her ability as an appraiser. In a few days, the rest of the team would be there to help her. Because of bad weather, the team arrived one day later than scheduled. Anita told the team about the ignorant lawyer, who was somewhere in the house. After a few days Gates never appeared. The rest of the team started to think that there was never a lawyer in the first place. Strange things are about to happen and everybody, might not make it out alive. This is Kirsten McKenzie first attempt at writing a horror novel. The author does a very good job of developing the main characters and describing the old creepy house that holds all the strange paintings. If your looking for a new author in the horror field, give Kirsten a try. I recommend this book.
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  • Josephine Carson
    January 1, 1970
    If you are a fan of Horror Novels then this is a novel foryou. You will be on the edge of your seat.An excellent choice. I have given it 5Stars
  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    This slow-burning horror novel is a wonderful example of the genre done well. No gore or cheap scares here, this is a subtle and delicate chiller written in the spirit of a Shirley Jackson novel. In fact, on more than one occasion I found myself thinking back to The Haunting of Hill House. Kudos to the author for that.As I was reading Painted, I envisioned it as an upmarket BBC production - it would make a terrific TV/Movie adaptation with a subtle, creepy score as an accompaniment. It's a great This slow-burning horror novel is a wonderful example of the genre done well. No gore or cheap scares here, this is a subtle and delicate chiller written in the spirit of a Shirley Jackson novel. In fact, on more than one occasion I found myself thinking back to The Haunting of Hill House. Kudos to the author for that.As I was reading Painted, I envisioned it as an upmarket BBC production - it would make a terrific TV/Movie adaptation with a subtle, creepy score as an accompaniment. It's a great story about a young woman who goes to catalogue the artwork of a recently deceased artist. To say too much about the plot would ruin it but of course, things get weird and fast. Horror fans will be glad to know that there's a creepy child in the story too and yes it's a girl. As we all know, little girls are much better at being scary than little boys.Finally, praise must go to Kirsten McKenzie for her wonderfully descriptive writing skills. She has a way of painting with words that really does put you in the room with the character and not only can you see the sights, you can smell the smells and hear the sounds.A great horror debut and I'll be looking forward to what the author does next in one of my favourite genres.
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  • Nikki Crutchley
    January 1, 1970
    The cover of this book ( we all judge them don't we!?) and the tag line 'If art can capture a soul, what happens when one of those souls escapes'? made me want to read this book - and I'm glad I did.The ominous tone of the book, which starts as soon as Anita reaches the house, kept me reading night after night. It was a struggle to put the book down each night as often the chapters left me in suspense.Kirsten writes beautifully and set the scene at the old house, where Anita and her colleagues a The cover of this book ( we all judge them don't we!?) and the tag line 'If art can capture a soul, what happens when one of those souls escapes'? made me want to read this book - and I'm glad I did.The ominous tone of the book, which starts as soon as Anita reaches the house, kept me reading night after night. It was a struggle to put the book down each night as often the chapters left me in suspense.Kirsten writes beautifully and set the scene at the old house, where Anita and her colleagues appraise a collection of artwork, so well that I could easily picture the tumultuous weather, and each room in the house.A great mix of characters (including the ghosts), naughty and nice, made for a very enjoyable read.
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  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    When Anita is sent to evaluate paintings in an old house in the middle of nowhere, she is excited to be given the chance to prove her worth to her colleagues. Upon arrival, however, weird things start to happen and she soon regrets having accepted the challenge.This is a well thought out story, full of creepy scenes and strange goings-on, with a twist at the end where things don't finish as the reader would expect. You'll definitely think twice before hanging a painting of a portrait in your bed When Anita is sent to evaluate paintings in an old house in the middle of nowhere, she is excited to be given the chance to prove her worth to her colleagues. Upon arrival, however, weird things start to happen and she soon regrets having accepted the challenge.This is a well thought out story, full of creepy scenes and strange goings-on, with a twist at the end where things don't finish as the reader would expect. You'll definitely think twice before hanging a painting of a portrait in your bedroom after reading this book!
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  • Karel
    January 1, 1970
    Ghosts of NotThis was a very unusual book. The premise is that by painting portraits of people and possessing a personal possession of that person, you can make them disappear! What it really appears to be is a way to steal their souls. For what purpose? This. Is not really clear. I also didn't find the characters that well fleshed out. I was a little disappointed by this book.
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  • Richard Howard
    January 1, 1970
    Horror is difficult and very few writers who attempt it get it right. Alas! This is yet another wearisome effort: confused; clichéd and - in its essential conceit - rather silly. In the hands of a Susan Hill, this might have raised a shiver but, as it is, the story cannot even muster a sense of unease.
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