Still Lives is at once a gripping and entertaining mystery, and a biting cultural critique that seeks to understand our obsession with the violent deaths of beautiful women ... Reading Still Lives is like being frozen in that feeling of fear, like being stuck in that moment right before the mysterious stranger lurches out from the darkened alley to grab you ... Still Lives doesn't just ask why we are obsessed with female murder victims. It also asks how: how we interpret violence against women, how we consume and commodify it, and how use it as tool of oppression ... an electrifying mystery, one that crackles with suspense and intrigue.
Ms. Hummel captures characters in a single stroke: the art dealer with the 'tan, metallic look' of 'prosthetic limbs, things that are made to look natural but are creepy instead'; the careerist’s wife, 'a predictably pale blonde with a talent for smiling without seeming friendly at all.' Having herself worked in a museum, she speaks with authority of that sealed world: 'The artist-dealer-collector triad is . . . soaked in cash. Most . . . transactions happen behind closed doors.' Still Lives is both savvy and lyrical—the perfect beach read for either coast.
Like Chandler, Hummel is capable of limning out a ripping yarn replete with high fashion, high finance and high society ... It would be damning with faint praise to call Still Lives a contender for best beach read of the year—like calling Pablo Picasso a really good painter—but Still Lives is both that and so much more.