negative space – mike robinson

Negative Space

I received this as an Advance Review Copy from Curiosity Quills via NetGalley for an honest review.  For once, I am going to start with the blurb from the book.

“Negative Space tells the story of a provocative Los Angeles painter named Max Higgins, on the verge of local fame. The secret to his work’s haunting allure? He collects photos of missing persons and incorporates them into his paintings, giving the often melancholy faces, as he puts it, a “home in his work.” This fascination stems from the bizarre disappearances of people he knew growing up, including his father. Then, one day, someone recognizes a face in one of his paintings, and he is suddenly thrust into a journey as surreal as anything from his brush, a journey into his past that will determine irrevocably his future.”

Now, this coupled with the cover image, I kind of assumed that this was going to be some kind of supernatural thriller – or at least some kind of supernatural element to it.

The first chapter didn’t dissuade me from this idea either – it was extremely odd, mysterious and had all sorts of surreal elements running through it as we met Max on a life-changing night in his childhood.

And then after that, all kinds of supernatural element seemed to disappear.  And that felt rather disappointing.  i felt a little cheated that I hadn’t got the story that I was expecting.  and I know that this could have had an affect on my enjoyment of the book.

If I had thought that this was a ‘straight’ book about missing people, and the reasons that they can disappear, then I wouldn’t have constantly been waiting for something ‘other’ to happen.

Max was a pretty likeable character, as was Penelope / Karen who came looking for him.  She had a really interesting story line that I would have liked explored a little more.  Her involvement with James, her client turned crazy stalker was a bit odd, but i guessed that this could’ve been quite realistic considering the situation.

A couple of the other characters – Dwayne and Ritter – didn’t even seem to have much place in the story, and part of me wondered what the point of them was, apart from to help move the story on a little.

Altogether, I found it a little confusing, and the ending didn’t feel ver satisfactory. However, Robinson obviously has the ability to portray good, likeable characters.

If you’re going to read it make sure that you’re not expecting ghosts or anything else mysterious!


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