Jason Poe, a former war photographer, has been breaking into abandoned houses for an art project. After climbing into a cramped attic he's confronted by a haunting set of murals. Transfixed, he determines to search for the artwork's meaning. As he and his friends investigate they uncover a mystery involving police corruption, scandal and much more.
The plot is more labyrinthine that it needs to be, stretching credulity at several points, but Bayer has a gift for creating people who feel completely real, and that skill bails him out here. This one isn’t quite as successful as some of his previous novels, but it’s a solid thriller that will hold readers’ interest.
... doesn’t make the most of its intriguing hook—the discovery of a room lined with creepy murals—or the warning in its preface about the reliability of the story’s several narrators ... Readers will struggle to stay engaged with the meandering plot and characters who lack resonance. This is a missed opportunity for a gifted author.
The mystery behind the murals’ creation, which takes several trips to Santa Fe and Switzerland to unravel, couldn’t be more predictable. Bayer, who presents his tale as a series of first-person narratives told by the searchers and their informants, doesn’t differentiate them enough to give each character a unique voice. But the most notable absence is of the murals themselves, which are described by a variety of encomiums but never in enough detail for readers to imagine what they’re not seeing ... A picture would have been worth a thousand words.