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Shot in Detroit

by Patricia Abbott

Library Journal At 40, Violet Hart is a down-on-her-luck photographer still waiting for her big break. Living in Detroit, with its plethora of crumbling and abandoned buildings, she is drawn to "ruin porn," but her focus changes when her lover Ben, a mortician catering to the black community, asks her to take a final photo of a family's loved one. In this moment she finds inspiration to capture the images of at least a dozen young black men in their final state of repose and to exhibit these pictures in her own one-woman show. By immersing herself in the world of the dead and constantly searching for "unusual" scenes to shoot, Violet inadvertently places herself, and those around her, in harm's way. Derringer Award-winning author Abbott (Concrete Angel) has delivered a fresh look at the disintegration of Detroit as seen through the lens of a camera. Less a suspense novel than the plot summary may imply, it is instead a detailed account of one woman battling her inner demons against the backdrop of a city that is doing the same. VERDICT This title is bound to have strong regional appeal, and fans of Megan Abbott may be curious, as the author is Abbott's mother.-Amy Nolan, St. Joseph, MI Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list As she nears 40, Detroit photographer Violet Hart is eking out a living shooting weddings and bar mitzvahs and looking for an artistic project. Then Bill Fontenel, the mortician she's romantically involved with, asks her to photograph a young man at the request of his family after his corpse has been prepared for burial. Violet has found her project: shooting young, dead black men (with the consent of their loved ones). Always looking for what is edgy, Violet also bonds with a young bipolar man who's building a sculpture of found objects, including human body parts that wash up from the Detroit River. This friendship, as well as her involvement with death, makes Violet suspicious in the eyes of the police. Soon she's struggling with concerns about her project, with a revelation about her racial background, and with what seems Bill's waning interest in her when the plot takes a final, tragic turn. Although less gripping than Abbott's debut, Concrete Angel (2015), this is an assured mystery centering on artistry and the price that can be paid for it.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Abbott follows her well-received suspense debut, Concrete Angel, with a macabre but perceptive novel set in Detroit. Nearing 40, Violet Hart is not yet successful with her photographic career and has doubts about her talent. She wanders decayed Belle Isle, once a fashionable waterside city park, now crawling with the homeless, the criminal, and the mentally ill. After accepting a commission from her handsome lover, mortician Bill Fontenel, to photograph a young man's corpse for his grieving relatives, Violet becomes inspired to create a series of images of the dead that she hopes will make her reputation as a serious artist. She enlists Bill's reluctant help in making a quick deadline for an exhibit of her series. Her need for bodies involves Violet, who's tormented by personal and professional issues, in a serious police investigation. Some readers may feel that Abbott teeters on the brink of distasteful sensationalism, but she makes some telling points about the sometimes questionable relationship between art and morality. (June) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved